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 Black History Month, from talking about race to activities to celebrate, as well as community events and opportunities!

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 February 2023 Highlights.

Monthly Fun Poll:
What is your favorite Valentine’s Day gift to receive?

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Meet our new PACEs Program Coordinator, Susan Turner!

Susan’s mission is to help the community build resilience and become trauma informed by bringing awareness and focus to PACES (positive adverse childhood experiences)!

Susan L. Turner has a Master of Human Services with a focus in Marriage and Family Therapy degree from Liberty University, a Bachelor of Social Work degree from East Tennessee State University and is a Licensed Bachelor of Social Work in the state of Tennessee. Susan has over 20 years of experience working with children and families, especially those in the foster care system. Susan is a certified ACES (adverse childhood experiences) trainer and facilitator and has presented ACES: From A Black Perspective throughout the community. She is also a certified SYMBIS marriage and family facilitator.

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

PLAYtime in the ARTspace is for ages zero to five years old or so, and those who love them!

Saturdays at 9:00 am
506 State Street, Bristol, TN

PLAYtime in the ARTspace entertains and educates with favorite songs, skits, rhymes and more.

Parents have the chance to connect with each other, eat  coffee and bagels, and discover great parenting resources from around the region.

$5 per family, free coffee and bagels, and great 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 WordWhat is Gentle Parenting?

Samantha Gray, Parenting Education Coordinator

“An initial article disparaged gentle parenting with a few choice words, and a steady flow of responses came out defending the practice of gentle parenting.
What is gentle parenting that people would line up to take sides?
Depending on the person practicing gentle parenting, it can vary based on their understanding, as well as their application of it. Basically it’s a way of parenting that takes a more thoughtful look at what we now know about healthy child development and applies it. It considers more than success or obedience and looks at healthy emotional development for child flourishing.”

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! 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!

Let’s talk about the hard stuff.

Conversations about race and diversity aren’t always easy, but they are necessary. No matter the background or ethnicity, all families need to discuss the complexities of race. Because children begin recognizing differences in people at only three months old, they are never too young to learn how to appreciate differences. Help your child form a strong cultural awareness using tips from the resources below!

25 Black History Activities

Spend some time each day this month learning about African American History, featuring activities from WeAreTeachers and more.

  1. Make a traffic light craft inspired by Garrett Morgan.
  2. Write your own dreams with this activity inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 
  3. Listen to a podcast focused on black history.
  4. Make an inspirational poster of President Obama.
  5. Read a Black History Month poem.
  6. Serve dinner inspired by African American culture.
  7. Play baseball in honor of Jackie Robinson
  8. Make your own hair products like Madam C.J. Walker
  9. Create jazz art influenced by Louis Armstrong.
  10. Research Black war veterans Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. and Benjamin O. Davis, Jr
  11. Design a freedom quilt.
  12. Make a dove of peace.
  13. Make Mae Jemison’s space shuttle.
  14. Virtually visit the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York.
  15. Draw the Alabama Bus Boycott Rosa Parks is known for.
  16. Take a virtual field trip to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture.
  17. Learn about Thurgood Marshall and his decision that separate is not equal during the Brown vs. Board of Education trial of 1954.
  18. Read poems written by Maya Angelou.
  19. Listen to a Black History Month song playlist.
  20. Make a peanut craft inspired by George Washington Carver.
  21. Try doing Alma Woodsey Thomas’s Expressionist art style.
  22. Practice your dance moves like Bill “Bojangle” Robinson.
  23. Stream “Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices” or watch Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History.
  24. Learn about clocks with a Benjamin Banneker inspired craft.
  25. Create a handprint wreath
Is reading more your style? Check out these sites with lists of books to celebrate Black History Month!

How to Change Page Margins in WordLove Day with Littles

You might have already begun prepping for Valentine’s Day with your special someone, but don’t forget to plan something for your children, too. It’s the day of love, not just the day of romance! Keep reading for a list of ways for caregivers and their kids to celebrate the holiday together.

New Books in the Parenting Sweet Library!

Take a look at our library’s newest additions…

Battling Over Birth: Black Women and the Maternal Health Care Crisis

Battling Over Birth: Black Women and the Maternal Health Care Crisis

Nurturing the Family: A Doula's Guide to Supporting New Parents Second Edition by Jacqueline Kelleher

Nurturing the Family: A Doula’s Guide to Supporting New Parents Second Edition by Jacqueline Kelleher

Myself Again: The PARENTS Postpartum Survival Guide by Gabrielle Mauren and Michelle Wiersgalla

Myself Again: The PARENTS Postpartum Survival Guide by Gabrielle Mauren and Michelle Wiersgalla

How to Change Page Margins in WordCongratulations to Parenting Educator Network member Tammy Alls!

Tammy Alls is the new Recruitment and Partnerships Manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee. Tammy has been a strong advocate for youth in northeast TN and southwest VA for her 32-year career working in residential treatment facilities, developing successful afterschool programming and teen pregnancy and parenting support programs. She serves as a board member for Appalachian Promise Alliance and is a steering committee member for shOUT, sexual health outreach.

Are you or your teen looking for a way to make a BIG impact on your community in the Tri-Cities? Volunteer to be a Big mentor! Click here to sign up.

You’re invited to join our first Transitioning Home workshops of 2023, starting in early February. They’re free, 6-week workshops, with a group of up to 12 participants meeting once a week with a facilitator for 90-minutes (via Zoom). There are some readings to do between meetings. Each week, there will be a brief presentation and plenty of time for conversation and questions.

Topics include:

Session I     Exploring Expectations and Transitions

Session II    Your Feelings, Cultural Influences, and the Needs of Children

Session III   Clarifying Values; Thinking About Family Finances; Defining Your Job

Session IV   Honoring Your Interests and Talents; Reflecting on Your Marriage and Mutual Interests

Session V    Developing an Interdependent Community

Session VI   Appreciating Your New Identity; Making Time for You Marriage and for Personal Renewal

Workshop sign-up and materials are in our Family and Home Community; here’s an invite link. Join the Tuesday evening group (7:30 pm Eastern) or the Thursday morning group (9:30 am Eastern). Sign up soon to get a spot, and invite a friend or two if you’d like!

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Child Passenger Safety Technician Samuel Jones is available to speak to groups about car seat safety, including special needs car seats, school bus car seats and European car seats. He can also provide programming on distracted driving and seatbelt safety for teenagers. If you would like to schedule a visit or presentation from Samuel for your group or organization, please call 276-254-5439 or email

>>> Click now to see the entire issue of the Parenting Sweet February 2023 eNewsletter!

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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!

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The Stage is Calling!

Learn about the audition process and get tips for auditioning for plays, including the upcoming production of Winnie-The-Pooh at Theatre Bristol.
February 11, 4:00 to 6:00 pm
506 State Street, Bristol, TN
Open to all ages!

Register at Come join the fun!

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

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Kids’ Karaoke Night

Join Bristol Academy of Music for Valentine Kids’ Karaoke Night on February 11th from 6-9pm! Parents, take the night off, grab some dinner, or just take a nap!

What is more fun and exciting for kids than getting to belt out their favorite tunes with a microphone?! Eat, sing, play, dance, and more!

Open to grades K-5. Cost: $30/child.
Only 12 spots available. Register here.

Kiddy Keys Preschool Piano

KiddyKeys® is a preschool piano program for children age 3 to 5. KiddyKeys is piano-focused and gives children skills that will prepare them for formal music lessons, if desired.

The curriculum offers a diverse range of musical knowledge and experiences: singing, dancing, rhythm instruments, coloring, storybooks, music terminology, finger plays, and even a bit of music history.

Students are given the chance to play at a piano keyboard each week, but are not expected to practice at home, and owning a piano or keyboard is not required. 

Cost: $72/mo.

Click here for registration and more information.

The Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace wants to help make memories that will last a lifetime by hosting a special Father-Daughter Dance.

The event will feature dancing, food, and craft for a full night of fun.

A photographer will be on hand to capture memories between dads and their daughters. Cherished keepsake silhouette photos of each couple dancing will be available through a QR code following the event.

Girls are to be escorted by their father, grandfather, or other male role models only. Fathers and daughters are asked to wear their ‘Sunday best’ outfit options.

The dance will include age-appropriate music emceed by a local DJ.

The purchase of tickets include access to a ‘Make Your Own’ pasta bar and dessert tower, as well as a craft station where attendees can create while attending the event and take home as a souvenir.

Tickets: $15 for daughters / $20 for fathers / $10 for each additional daughter attending.

Click here for more information and registration.

See live animals from around the world, purchase pets and pet products directly from the experts at amazing prices you won’t find anywhere else, and learn more about reptiles and exotic animals. Visit for information on tickets and pricing!

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: 

Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation is partnering with the Tennessee Department of Education to provide at-home reading resources for free to all Tennessee families of K–2 children to help young learners become stronger readers. Based on your child’s grade level, they will receive the At-Home Decodable Book Series, a collection of seven booklets containing 20+ exciting stories full of sounds and words to practice, and age-appropriate, high-quality Scholastic books. Click here to order your kit.

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!

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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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