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Welcome to Parenting Sweet!

Parenting Sweet is a resource for parents and caregivers, featuring all the great opportunities in our region that make parenting sweet!

This issue features a new year and new connections! From resolutions, to registrations, to finding margin or finding a reason to celebrate every day, we share activities for the whole family.

Bristol’s Promise Making Parenting Sweet

We have tips, information, practices, and parenting classes, sessions, workshops, support groups, seasoned educators, and friendships that can help lighten some of your load and make parenting easier.

Wish you had an extra hand? A little help? A hack that makes things a little easier? Wondering if doing something different would help?

Check out the Parenting Educator Network opportunities below in the January 2023 Highlights.

Monthly Fun Poll:  Do you make New Year’s resolutions?

Did you meet our new Parenting Program Manager, Lily Royston?

Newly married and recently graduated, Elizabeth “Lily” Royston is looking to make a mark on her hometown region. Lily has a lifelong passion for people, especially youth and children, finding joy in making connections and fostering care into the hearts of others. She is always looking for new perspectives and a better understanding of the world around her. Joining our team with a B.A. in Media and Mass Communications, she hopes to help our Parenting Program grow to new depths and reach more people. She can be reached at 

Parenting Sweet helps us keep our five promises of caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, effective education, and opportunities to serve.

For ages zero to five years old or so and their caregivers, “PLAYtime in the ARTspace” entertains and educates with favorite songs and rhymes and more. Parents connect to each other, coffee, bagels and great parenting resources from around the region.

Resumes February 4, 2023

$5 per family, free coffee and bagels, and parenting resources

Doors open at 9:00 AM, program begins at 9:15 AM

Sponsored by Theatre Bristol, Bristol Bagel and Bakery, & Bristol’s Promise

On Parenting

How to Change Page Margins in WordAdjusting the Margins

Samantha Gray, Parenting Education Coordinator

“I was at the pediatrician with my oldest son years ago for a well-baby checkup.

“We had just moved to the area, and I was trying to unpack, while taking care of a baby and a 4 year old, as well as meet a major deadline for work. With no family nearby, no community, and no support system and my husband starting a new job and out of state to sell our old house, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed.”

Read on

Coming Soon: 
Grandparent Workshop Series

Bristol’s Promise will be offering a workshop series just for grandparents of children ages birth to five! Why? We love our grandparents! Whether you are “sharing the care” or a custodial grandparent, we recognize the vital importance of grandparents.

Did you know? In the U.S., one out of four children under age 5 is cared for by a grandparent while parents work or go to school and 1.6 million children are being raised by grandparents (US Census Bureau, Zero to Three).

We want to offer you the opportunity to build a strong social support network, sharing joys and challenges, as well as gaining and sharing knowledge. You can look forward to topics such as: challenging behavior, mealtimes and picky eating, early learning, sleep, generational relationships, and more!

Stay tuned to find out more! If you or someone you know may be interested in learning more about this program, please submit your information here. Questions? Email Lily Royston ( Thank you!

Click to learn more!

Is your child signed up for Imagination Library?

All children who are residents of Sullivan County from birth to age five can be registered for this program. Once registered, each child then receives a free, age-appropriate book in the mail every month – sixty books in all if signed up at birth. Every child will have books of their very own, at no cost to them. Click here to register.

Not in Sullivan County? Find your Imagination Library Program here.

January Kids and Teens Downloadable Activity Calendars

New Year, New Connections!

Find Your People

They weren’t lying when they said it takes a village to raise a child. While parenting is a whole lot of fun, it can also be a whole lot of messy. Consider joining a caregiver group to expand your village and get the support you need to raise a happy, healthy child.


MOPS gathers and supports moms. They believe in the simple but revolutionary idea that remarkable things happen when moms come together. The MOPS acronym stands for “Mothers of Preschoolers” because it began in 1973 when a group of moms with young children banded together to share their lives and parenting journeys. Over the past 48 years, MOPS has expanded our community to include moms with school-aged kids. In addition, MOPS is partnering with churches and organizations worldwide to equip and encourage moms in more than 70 countries.

Find your MOPS group!

Appalachian Highlands Healthy Babies (AHH Babies)

From the La Leche League of Bristol, to La Leche League of Mountain Empire, the organization has spread once again to serve all of Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee, taking on the name Appalachian Highlands Healthy Babies, or AHH Babies, as they expand their reach. They are here to provide you with free breastfeeding information and encouragement. It is their joy and privilege to introduce you and your family to the importance of Mothering through Breastfeeding.

AHH Babies provides:

Mother-to-Mother support
Leaders accredited by La Leche League International
Latest breastfeeding information

Meetings are a series of four rotating topics, however, no two meetings are ever the same. Join virtually to get your questions answered and/or offer support to other parents.

The Importance of Breastfeeding to Mother and Baby
Baby Arrives; the Family and the Breastfed Baby
The Art of Breastfeeding / Overcoming and Avoiding Difficulties
Nutrition and Weaning

Prime Your Parenting

If you’re planning for a baby, rumbling with a 5-year-old, or anything in-between, pop on Zoom Thursdays at 9 PM for Parenting Prime Time to connect with other caregivers in similar positions and communicate with a certified parenting educator, a real person willing to give recommendations on resources and connections in the area.

Registration Link:

Attached at the Heart

The Attached at the Heart parenting education program serves parents and caregivers of children from prenatal through 5 years of age. It offers practical and critical parenting information and support based in more than 70 years of research and experience, as well as promotes the critical role of attachment in resiliency and empathy. To learn about classes see the catalog of classes, or contact To become a certified educator in the Attached at the Heart Parenting Program, contact

Registration Link:

Cherished Mom

“It has been proven that Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders affect up to 20% of women during pregnancy or after birth, making it the number one complication of childbirth.  At Cherished Mom, we believe there’s much room for improvement to educating moms and families of this possibility and risk. We have made it our goal to help to fill the educational void that is lacking.

Cherished Mom’s mission is to promote awareness and education for perinatal mental health and the importance of self-care to new moms, families, healthcare professionals and the community.

For over 25 years, MOMS R US has improved the health and wellness of teen parents and their babies by educating them in all aspects of pregnancy. All of the classes are FREE OF CHARGE and available to teens age 19 or younger who are pregnant for the first time.

YWCA MOMS R US Vision is to empower teen parents and parent-to-be with education, resources, and encouragement to support their health, academic studies and overall well-being. Being a young parent isn’t easy, but with determination and the right support, we envision a bright future for all teen parents and their families.”

Project Dads

Project Dads is a comprehensive and innovative parenting class for fathers that utilize the 24/7 Dad curriculum developed by the parenting experts of the National Fatherhood Initiative. This program helps men develop the attitudes, knowledge and skills they need to get and stay involved with their children. Topics covered include discipline, working with mom and co-parenting, showing and handling feelings, masculinity, dealing with anger, improving communication skills, stress, substance use, work and more.

Early Childhood Education

The Early Childhood Parenting Program is for parents, caregivers and expecting parents whose children are newborn through age six. Classes help parents gain overall parenting skills and better understand their child’s behavior including ways to handle crying, temper tantrums, toilet training, lying, jealousy and other common challenges. This class also focuses on building self-esteem and increasing communication.

How to start a parenting group

Some things you should not or cannot do alone, like swimming, moving a piano, or singing in harmony.

Parenting benefits from community. We love sharing groups you can join, groups that are ready to welcome you and support you, but sometimes they are not the solution. Perhaps they don’t gather at a convenient time or there are none close by.

Sometimes the help you need you have to start.

Here are some tips for getting started with a parenting group:

  • Invite a friend or two and start it together
  • Visit parenting groups in other communities
  • Affiliate with an organization like Postpartum Support International, Nurturings, Bristol’s Promise, MOPS, La Leche League International, or other local or national organization
  • Align with a common interest to help people connect with and understand the group
  • Pick a day and a time, whether weekly or monthly, and stick to it for a long while
  • Connect with your childbirth education classmates and plan a reunion
  • Connect with members of your faith community, at weekly library story time, at the local preschool, or at Saturday morning PLAYtime
  • Post flyers and share information in bulletins and enewsletters, on social media, etc.
  • Start a Facebook group first and share common interests and parenting needs. Over time, after getting to know each other more, make a plan for an in-person meetup
  • Plan meetups at the library, place of worship, park, community center, or other public space, so you don’t feel like you need to clean in advance and can get to know other parents or caregivers
  • Invite guest speakers or take turns leading. You do not have to know or lead it all
  • Create a good referral list for parents who would like particular help. Remember to include Parenting Sweet
  • Recognize that groups vary in participation over time as does their need. Count any time together as success and revamp days, times, locations, and formats as desired 
~ Samantha Gray, Parenting Education Coordinator

January 2023 Holidays

(Constant Contact)

This month, Hands On! is introducing some exciting new programs for you to enjoy! Check out your favorite activity on the Discovery Carts, choose from three new programs in the Art Studio (or do all three!), plus enjoy two different programs scheduled for the Discovery Lab! All of the dates and details are below.

Tuesdays through Fridays in January-Discovery Cart Activities 
Stop by our Discovery Cart to explore something new each week. All activities are self-guided.  All cart program components and materials must remain on site unless otherwise noted.  Each cart activity may contain small parts not suitable for children 3 and under. FREE with general paid admission.

  • 3rd-6th-Cubelets Robotic Coding Blocks for National Technology Day
  • 10th-13th –K’nex
  • 17th-20th-Snap Circuits
  • 24th-27th-Legos for National Lego Day
  • 31st-February 3rd-Cubelets Robotic Coding Blocks

January 3th – January 29th – January Art Studio Programs
Join for crayon-resist watercolor snowflake paintings, snow-scape paper collages, snowflake plate rubbings, and blind contour drawings in the Art Studio.  All activities are self-guided with instructions provided, with facilitated programs announced periodically throughout each day.  Stop by and get creative!  FREE with general paid admission.
January 9th – Sensory Night, 4pm-6pm
This event is designed for children with sensory integration needs. Lighting and sound are adjusted as well as many other environmental elements.  Hands On! will be closed to the public during this event.  Sensory Nights are free, and space is limited.  Registration is required and includes immediate family only.  To register, click
January 10th – January 29th – Stellar Static Discovery Lab Program
You will get a “charge” out of all the fun being had in the lab!  Make static spheres wiggle inside the static tube, test out the static generating Fun Fly Stick, and use a balloon to move objects such as bubbles, ping-pong balls, and more!  The Discovery Lab will be open by announcement periodically throughout each day.  FREE with general paid admission.


Hands On! Discovery Center
1212 Suncrest Drive
Gray, TN 37615
Phone: (423) 434-4263
Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm
Sunday 1pm-5pm
Monday 10am-5pm (March, June, & July only)

There’s no better time to start dance classes than the beginning of a new year!

Starting January 10, Bristol Ballet will be offering two class times for Creative Movement for 3-year-olds:
Tuesdays at 4-4:30pm
Wednesdays at 12-12:30pm

Mommy and Me/ Caregiver and Child classes for babies will be offered on:
Wednesdays at 11-11:30AM (12-24 months)
Wednesdays at 11:30-12 (2 year olds)

Rolling admission is available for all classes for ages 12 months through adult ballet. 

To join, you can register at or email for more info!

Theatre Bristol announces auditions for “The Diary of Anne Frank,” directed by Camille Gray, January 8 & 9. Performances run March 3-19 at the Theatre Bristol ARTspace. Learn more and fill out the audition form at

Theatre Bristol announces School of the Theatre Arts Creative Dramatics classes registration for the Spring semester.

Creative Dramatics for ages 5-7 begins March 6 and runs Mondays 5:30-6:30 PM and is $160 for the semester.

Dramatics 1 for ages 8-10 begins March 7 and runs Tuesdays 5:30-6:30 PM and is $160 for the semester.

Dramatics 2 for ages 11-13 begins March 8 and runs Wednesdays 5:30-6:30 PM and is $160 for the semester.

Registration is open at

Through the Office of Inclusive Excellence, Northeast State Community College invites high school-age students to participate in the second annual Martin Luther King Jr. 2023 Youth Summit, scheduled for Friday, Jan. 20, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The summit will be held at the College’s Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Kingsport, 305 W. Main St.
The event aims to involve students in immersive virtual reality and hands-on activities to teach skills needed for careers. Local industry representatives will provide training and serve as keynote speakers.
Lunch and snacks will be provided.
Jan. 9 is the last day to register. Please contact Caitlin Maines at to register or for more information.

The Sullivan Gardens branch of the Sullivan Co. Library is starting a teen book club. The Sullivan Gardens branch of the library is right in front of Sullivan Gardens Elementary on Bluegrass Drive. This is the book they will be reading this month. No registration required. Book does not have to be read before the first meeting.

The Wellness Center of Kingsport still has spots available in their swim classes! Anyone can learn to swim at The Wellness Center – no matter the age or skill level.

🤿 Group Swim Lessons
Children ages 3-12 | Mondays and Wednesdays, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

🤿 Parent & Child Safety Swim Sessions
For ages 6 months to 36 months and a guardian | Saturdays, 9-9:45 a.m.

🤿 Preschool Group Swim Lessons
Ages 3-5 | Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1-2 p.m.

🤿 Private Swim Lessons
All ages, adults included | upon availability

Fill out this form to sign up or request more information: 

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Family Resolution Ideas

You don’t have to be alone when it comes to making New Year’s resolutions. When trying to add or change a habit, it can be easier when you have a support group to keep you going, and you probably already have some great company nearby. Many of our routines revolve around our families, so why don’t we incorporate them into our New Year’s resolutions? Creating resolutions with family is a way to build stronger relationships with your loved ones and yourself.

Here are a few family resolutions to attempt this year:

  1. Family Fitness Day – If your resolution is to exercise more, implement it into your weekly schedule. Exercising does more than increase physical health; it’s a natural mood booster and stress reliever. Go on walks together, sign up for a yoga class, or just do routines you find from online videos!
  2. Create Reading Time – If your resolution is to read more often, make it a family routine to go to the library once a week, or dedicate 30 minutes a day to reading time.
  3. Volunteer Together – From participating in a charity walk to collecting used blankets, towels, and toys for an animal shelter, there are endless possibilities to get you and your family involved in the community.
  4. Stick to Bedtime – Adults need sleep just as much as children do, but for some families, bedtimes are considered a guideline and not a rule, and if they are a rule, they only apply to young children. Make a mandatory bedtime requiring lights-out for everyone to ensure everyone is getting the sleep they need.
  5. Switch the Soda – It’s easier to make healthier meal selections when the whole family is on board. Instead of filling the refrigerator with sugary soda, buy carbonated water in similar flavors. Eliminating the source from the home will limit the temptations, and teach children to make healthier choices themselves.

Looking for information or support?
Visit to learn more about:

The Parenting Education Network, Bristol Family Resource Center, YWCA MOMS R US, Mom Power, Hope House, Frontier Health, Highlands Community Services, Breastfeeding Essentials, La Leche League Breastfeeding Support, Cherished Mom, Attached at the Heart Classes, Twin City Reads, Buckle Up for Life, Doula by Donation, Sullivan County Family Services, High Country Doulas, ETSU Family Physicians, Bethany Services, TriCities Babywearing TN, Sullivan County Health Department, STRONG Pregnancies, STRONG Starts, and more.

Bristol’s Promise
Parenting Education Network Programs

Find a program that fits your needs! Click to search for free or low cost, morning or evening, online or in-person, first-time or veteran parent/caregiver, and more!

How to Keep Your Resolutions

The start of the new year welcomes new beginnings and fresh starts. This often includes making resolutions in attempt to change bad habits and establish new routines that will help you grow psychologically, emotionally, socially, physically, or intellectually. Emphasis on the ATTEMPT. According to New Year’s Resolution Statistics via Statistics Brain, 41% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions but only 9% feel they were successful in keeping their resolutions.

Here are some tips on how to invest in reaching goals you have set for yourself.

  1. Be Realistic – Make clearly stated SMART goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. 
  2. Change It Up – Try not to use the same resolutions if you aren’t achieving them. “If people think they can do it, they probably can, but if they’ve already tried and failed, their self-belief will be low,” Wiseman explained in an interview with *The Guardian.*
  3. Keep It Simple – Limit the number of resolutions you make. Psychology professor Richard Wiseman at Hertfordshire University claims chances of success are greater when people channel their energy into changing just one aspect of their behavior.
  4. Plan Ahead – Prepare yourself. Experts suggest that you decide how you will tackle a major behavior change, including the steps you will take, why you want to do it, and ways you can keep yourself on track.
  5. Track Your Progress – Keep track of each success. Start small; short-term goals are easier to achieve. Write your progress in a journal each day to help you visualize how far you’ve come, how far you have to go, and when to reward yourself.
  6. Reward Yourself – Celebrate your success! Treat yourself to something you enjoy that doesn’t contradict your resolution.
  7. Buddy Up – Explain your goals to your friends, family, or a group with similar interests and encourage them to check in with you for progress updates. Having a strong support system will make your strive for success a whole lot easier.
  8. Forgive Yourself – Don’t beat yourself up. Take each day one at a time and do your best. Stressing over an occasional slip up won’t help you reach your goal.
  9. Stay Motivated – Find something that inspires you to keep going. Gather quotes and phrases that bring you inspiration. Think about or write down exactly why you made these goals, their end results, and why they are important to you. Look back at these when you need a reminder not to give up.
  10. Don’t Give Up – Change doesn’t happen over night. Experts say it can take you anywhere from two months to eight months to build a new behavior into your life. Keep going!

Parenting Sweet works to help make parenting sweet! Parents get connected to support and information because learning about parenting and getting support does make a difference.

If you would you like to continue receiving Parenting Sweet, you’ll need to be sure to sign up on the website.

If you know a parent, caregiver, grandparent, or anyone who cares about children, share the sign-up link with them and help them find all that’s great for children and families in our community.

Past issues and all the events are available anytime on the Blog.

Support for this program is provided by Ballad Population Health Community Health Initiative and Bristol Public Housing.

Parenting Sweet Team: Samantha Gray, Lily Royston, Susan Turner, Emily Macbeth, Katherine Wilson-Thompson, Melissa Roberts, and Margaret Feierabend.

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