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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!

Appalachian Promise Alliance is 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 September 2023 Highlights.

   Monthly Fun Poll

What is your favorite part of the fall season?

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

Grandparents’ Day is on the way!

Grandparents build the foundation of the family. Spend the day with them creating memories that will last a lifetime. Need some ideas? We’ve got you covered.

  • Make a Family Tree – Make a family tree with your grandchildren! Grab some paper and crayons and have your grandchild help you draw out the members of your family. This is a fun way to teach them about family history!
  • Cook Together – Let your grandchildren assist in cooking a family recipe, passing it through the family line.
  • Teach a Hobby – Educate your grandchildren on your favorite activity, or find a new one to start! Teach them how to do it and explain why you enjoy it. This could become a hobby you do together for years to come.
  • Go Out to Eat – Take the grandchildren out to eat! This sounds like an easy answer, but it’s undervalued. There are tons of restaurants in the area; try somewhere you’ve never been or a cuisine your grandchildren have never tried. It can be a new experience for you to enjoy together!
  • Visit a Museum – We live in an area full of history, why not learn about it together? Not only does this set an example by caregivers for children to be willing to learn and spark interest in the history, it also gives grandparents the chance to share their own wisdom and life experiences about the landmarks visited.

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Resource Fair

Friday, September 8th, 2023 from 10:00am – 2:00pm

How to Stay Connected with Your Family During the School Year

A Music City Family Therapy Article

Let’s face it, kids getting back to school is both exciting and exhausting. Between homework, school activities, home life, and work life, we can easily lose each other. It doesn’t take much to exchange regular family dinners and summer fun, for to-do lists, phone reminders, and quick check-ins that don’t really tell us how our kids are doing.

This kind of disconnection can happen before we know it and can have significant ramifications if we aren’t paying attention. Most, arguably all, relational challenges start with disconnection. From bullying at school without parents knowing, to failing grades from not asking for help, to more serious issues of self-harm and the like. Most parents are doing the best they can, and no one is here to place guilt. What we do want is to help you keep that sacred connection to your kiddos. Here are some simple but impactful tips.

Morning encouragement.

When your loved ones leave your home, they will encounter plenty of negative messages, as well as their own internal struggles. Start the day off with reminding them how loved and valuable they are. Look into their eyes. Make it weird. They may act like they are irritated, but you are helping set their compass for the day and they love it.

Family dinner at least once a week.

The more the better for sure, but have at least one day where you all prepare together, sit around a table and take the time to truly see, hear, and celebrate each other. Your kids need this, and so do you.

Nightly check-in.

Nighttime is when most kids are open and a bit chatty. Bedtime is the true golden hour when it comes to connection. Don’t miss it. Not to scare you, but you only get so many tuck-ins in their childhood before they leave your nest. Spend bedtimes listening to what’s on their minds and very importantly, notice if they have recurring struggles that could be red flags. Catching issues early is so key in not only maintaining connection, but also keeping your hand on the pulse when it comes to their overall well-being.

The science on hugs.

“When people hug for 20 seconds or more, the feel-good hormone oxytocin is released which creates a stronger bond and connection between the huggers. Oxytocin has been shown to boost the immune system and reduce stress.” -Goodnet

So, hug it out! When they wake, when they leave the house, when they get home, before bed. Make hugging the norm in your family culture and watch how connection increases between everyone!

Pick activities that matter most.

You don’t have to do everything. When it comes to extracurriculars, sometimes less is more. If you aren’t over scheduled with activities, you will enjoy the ones you do chose, even more.

Fun matters.

Just because summer is over doesn’t mean fun has to be. While your family does need down time to rest on the weekends, you also need fun time for connection and JOY. Consider planning activities to do as a family on a regular basis. It can just be a family hike, bowling, board game night, etc.

Plan your getaways.

If you can, schedule some short trips throughout the year. Trips can be a wonderful way to connect outside of the day-to-day routine. Consider a Labor Day weekend camping trip or getting away to a cabin during Christmas break.

Check-in with everyone each quarter.

Access what’s working schedule-wise and what needs adjustment. It’s okay to make changes, as needed. This is your family’s life and being willing to change up what’s not working is not a failure, but a WIN.

Schedule screentime strategically.

As Stacy says, “Let screentime be the dessert of your life, not the main course.” Devices can easily take the place of true connection by sucking up all your child’s attention and wreaking havoc on their nervous system. The Surgeon General recently released a statement declaring that we are in a state of emergency when it comes to the affect of excessive device usage throughout childhood. As you manage your family’s screentime, consider allowing device usage during certain hours. Whatever times you choose, we recommend steering clear of dinner time and that golden hour for connection, before bed.

Any one of these tips can help you and your family stay connected during the busy school year. We’re rooting for you, and we’re here for support, if you need it!

Have a happy, joyful, and connected, school year!

Help Yourself and Help Your Baby– Babywearing Can Prevent PPD!

Did you know that postpartum depression is the most common complication of childbirth?

Did you know that we need low-cost, easy-to-implement interventions to combat such complications?

Researchers Emily Little, Lisa Bain, and Jennifer Hahn-Holbrook found that babywearing may be a cost-effective way to reduce postpartum depression symptoms in their study “Randomized controlled trial to prevent postpartum depressive symptomatology: An infant carrier intervention,” also noting research previously done by Reim (Riem et al., 2021) showing that infant carrying enhances parental sensitivity to infant cries.

The Center for Babywearing Studies shares even more about the benefits of babywearing!

For help with babywearing and to try out carries, contact the Parenting Sweet and visit our library of carriers and talk with certified educators!

8 Best Baby Carriers and Slings 2023

“The best baby carrier allows parents to comfortably cuddle little ones close for outdoor adventures, errands or just to get things done around the house hands-free when baby refuses to be put down. They’re also a serious game changer if you have older toddlers to chase after and jam–packed weekends making naps on the go a necessity.”

Click HERE to read on about how to choose the best baby carrier for you and your little one!

Jonesborough Pumpkin Fest

Jonesborough Area Merchants & Service Association (JAMSA) will host their second annual Pumpkin Fest on Saturday, September 23 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in downtown Jonesborough with two time frames, 11am-2pm and 2pm-5pm.

Explore downtown Jonesborough to enjoy various pumpkin themed treats, drinks, and experiences. One ticket equals one serving or one activity. Attendees will discover options of sweet and savory pumpkin themed food and drinks and family friendly fall activities such as a hay ride, pumpkin painting, a cake walk and more!

Tickets will be sold in packs of 10 for $20.

Baby Comfort Station at Rhythm & Roots

The Parenting Sweet has you covered once again at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion with the Baby Comfort Station! We will be set up with shade and water for all the caregivers of young children and breastfeeding mommas who might need to take a break from the festival and relax for awhile.

For more information on festival tickets and lineups, visit .

On the Children’s Day Stage

10:05 – PLAYtime in the Park with Theatre Bristol

10:30 – Sydney Gray

10:55 – Art Woodward

11:30 – Bristol Academy of Music

11:55 – Bristol Ballet

12:25 – RedHawk Musicians

12:40 – JAM Kids

Children’s Day at Rhythm & Roots

Date: Saturday, September 9, 2023 

Time: 10AM – 1 PM

Location: Anderson Park, 341 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Bristol, TN 37620

Join us at Anderson Park for crafts, games, food trucks, and live music entertainment all for families and kids!

Bristol Ballet Class Registration

Bristol Ballet has opened registration for their 2023-2024 classes! Rolling admission allows you to sign up for classes like Creative Movement and Mommy and Me/ Caregiver and Child after the start date. Offering quality training in ballet, pointe, contemporary, adult ballet, adult fitness, and more, there is something for all ages. Click here to register online, or call 276-669-6051 or email for more information!

Nintendo Switch Teen Game Night

Teens ages 13 to 18 are invited to try out the new Nintendo Switch games at the Sullivan County Public Library Blountville Branch! Come hang out or compete at the Teen Game Night on September 8th at 5PM.

Andrew and Abby’s Closet Children’s Consignment Sale

Benefit Pre-Sale for the TLC Community Center – Wednesday, September 6th: 6PM – 10PM
$5 Admission/adult paid at the door on the night of the Benefit Pre-Sale. All proceeds from admission will be given directly to the TLC community center. NO Strollers allowed on Pre-Sale night.

September 7th – September 9th at the Appalachian Fairgrounds
Thursday, September 7th: 9AM – 7PM
Friday, September 8th: 9AM – 7PM
Saturday, September 9th: 10AM – 4PM (1/2 OFF most items)

OVER 60,000 Children’s ITEMS for newborns-TEENS!!

Family Fun and Reflection

Saturday, September 2nd, 2023 from 4:00PM – 8:00PM
Visit or call Insight Alliance 877-366-7593 to help or for more info.

Building with the Lions

Families are invited to drop by the Jones Meeting Center at the Johnson City Public Library the second Saturday of every month between 10:30AM – 12PM for Building with the Lions. You can build creations using LEGO blocks and other construction materials. Your creations will be displayed in the Children’s Library. This program is facilitated by the Johnson City Lions Club.

Roller Skating Classes

Bristol Skateway and the Johnson City Family Skate Center will be holding roller skate classes this fall.

Cost includes skate rental and open session.

No registration required!

Bristol Skateway Winter Schedule

Starting September 5th, Bristol Skateway will begin their winter schedule. Hours and pricing will be changed according to the picture.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Sullivan County

The organization is looking for mentors age 23+ to volunteer 2-3 hours for 2-3 weekends a month as part of their Community-Based Program.

Beginner Skateboarding Lessons

Want to learn how to skateboard in a fun, safe environment? Starting in September, Kingsport Parks and Recreation will be offering a course on beginning skateboarding at Scott Adams Skate Park. Limited spots are available, so register online today at

“The Mockingbird Sings” – 2 SHOWS ONLY!

“The Mockingbird Sings” comes to the ARTspace stage in two showings only, bookending the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, Thursday Sept 7 and Monday Sept 11 at 7:30 pm. Tickets on sale now at

It’s a uniquely Bristol love story about the birth of country music and the Bristol Sessions featuring a dramatic reading and live music – not to be missed!

For more details visit:…/

Dress-up Storytime for Littles

Dates: Sept 9, 16, 30; Oct. 21, 28; and Nov. 4, 11, 18!, 10-11 a.m. each time

Location: RISE: Healthy for Life, 2700 S Roan St #300B, Johnson City, TN

Join RISE volunteers and staff for some great storybooks, songs, crafts, and snacks Saturday mornings this fall—and go home with the book we read! Affirmation to families, to self, to dreaming big, RISE storytime is all about empowering our littles. Dress-up storytime is perfect for kids about 2-6 years old. Older and younger siblings and friends are welcome as well. Adults must remain with the kids they bring.

Theatre Bristol Presents: “Oklahoma!”

“Oklahoma!” presented by Theatre Bristol, comes to The Paramount Center for the Arts September 22-October 1! Reserve your tickets today at

Johnson City Baby Celebration

New and expecting parents in the Johnson City area are invited to a Baby Celebration hosted by the Child Support Division of the Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS). This free family event is an opportunity for new and expecting parents and guardians to receive free baby supplies (while supplies last), speak with Child Support professionals, and receive other helpful resources.

The Incredible Community Baby Shower Drive-Thru in Rogersville City Park

Join the community baby shower to get free goodies and resources for your new or expecting family!

Call 423-272-7641 for more information!

Nurturing Parenting Sessions

Boys & Girls Club of Johnson City/Washington County are offering free sessions on the ABC’s of Parenting for caregivers, providing food and matching sessions/childcare for school-aged children.

Please call 423-461-4560 to register.

2023 Air/Space/Cyber Expo

Saturday, September 9th, 10AM – 2PM EDT

Northeast State Community College – Technical Education Complex 2425 Tennessee 75 Blountville, TN 37617

The event is free and is being offered as a community service. Educational, business, government, and non-profit organizations in the fields of aviation, space technologies, and cybersecurity/STEM will have exhibits and provide information about career and service opportunities.

Registration is available here: (Note that there are different tickets for Attendees, Exhibitors, and Regional Leaders)

Fire Prevention Tour

The Kingsport Fire Department will be hosting the two Fire Prevention Month Homeschool Fire Station Tours for Fire Prevention Month 2023 at Kingsport Fire Deportment’s Station 1, 130 Island St in downtown Kingsport.

Tour #1- 10AM Thursday, October 5th
Tour #2- 10AM Thursday, October 12th

There will be a fun Fire Safety Presentation with Sparky the Fire Dog, a Firefighter Turnout Gear Demonstration, and Fire Engine Tour.

Families wishing to participate may contact Public Education Officer Barry Brickey at with the number of family members attending and the preferred tour date.

The Kindermusik Room Fall 2023 Classes

Classes offered in Johnson City, Bristol and Greeneville. 

All classes are OPEN ENROLLMENT, meaning begin a class any time in the semester and enjoy prorated tuition fees for the classes prior to your registration.  

Greeneville classes will begin September 20.  

Free Pelvic Floor 101 Class

Date: Saturday, September 16, 2023, 1-2:30 PM

Location: RISE: Healthy for Life, 2700 S Roan St #300B, Johnson City, TN

In this FREE class, we will learn about the muscles and structures that make up the pelvic floor for all genders. Participants will learn what the pelvic floor is, why it’s important, and how to support pelvic floor health.

For registration and more information, go to

Teen Cooking Class

Date: Saturday, September 30th at 11:00AM

Location: Bluff City library (481 Cedar Street Bluff City, TN 37618)

This free cooking class will teach teens ages 13-17 how to safely handle food to prevent illness and to make an easy and delicious meal- Crock Pot Chicken Fajitas!

For registration and more information, go to

Upcoming Parenting Opportunities

Learn, question, and meet other parents and caregivers!

  • Nurturing Parenting Program – Boys & Girls Club of Johnson City/Washington County – FREE, IN PERSON
  • Attached at the Heart Parenting Program Thursdays at 7:30PM – FREE, ONLINE
  • Attached at the Heart Parenting Program Fridays at 10:30AM – FREE, ONLINE, IN PERSON
  • Tricities Parenting in-person meetup, Sundays at 4:30PM at the Parenting Sweet – FREE, ONLINE, IN PERSON
  • Prenatal Parenting Series at Ballad Health OBGYN offices and health departments – FREE, IN PERSON
  • Mom Power Series by Families Free – FREE, IN PERSON
  • AHH Babies breastfeeding in-person meetup on Fourth Tuesdays at the YWCA – FREE, IN PERSON
  • Family Playtime is being offered at multiple local libraries to foster strong bonds within families – FREE, IN PERSON

Visit the Parenting Sweet Program Catalog for Details and Registration or email! Don’t see a class you need? Let us know!

Cherished Mom presents: Mama-U

Join Mama-U and learn about maternal mental health. Plus, get rewarded with a coupon book filled with freebies and discounts upon completion.

For more information, visit or email


The YWCA’s teen pregnancy and parenting support program is beginning enrollment for Prepared Childbirth Classes: Sullivan County, TN, Bristol, TN and VA City!

Art at the Library at Thomas Memorial Library

Art with Daniel at Colonial Heights Library

Non-profit Reading Challenge to Provide Appalachian Children with Books

The Appalachian Literary Initiative is holding a July ‘Reading for Literacy Challenge’ and Fundraiser to promote family reading and provide low-income children with books across Appalachia.

The Reading for Literacy Challenge is taking place in a free mobile app called FytFeed.

PLAYtime in the ARTspace

PLAYtime in the ARTspace is for ages zero to five years old or so, and those who love them! Saturdays at 10:00AM in the ARTspace Theatre at 506 State Street, Bristol, TN. Shows are in the community in September and back on the ARTspace stage in October!

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 10:00 AM, program begins at 10:15 AM.
Be sure to check the PLAYtime calendar for PLAYtime dates and follow our social media accounts. Sponsored by Theatre Bristol, Bristol Bagel and Bakery, & Appalachian Promise Alliance, and the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Are you a grandparent? 


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

Family Playtime

The Children’s Resource Center is reaching out to the community. Join them for Family Playtime at your local library!

Parent Educator Network

The Appalachian Promise Alliance’s Parenting Network meets the third Thursday of each month at noon and works to support parenting education in our community by sharing efforts, communicating the value and importance of parenting education, and learning more about how we can better serve families. If you are interested in helping teach classes, mentor parents, or have parenting educator updates to share, please contact us!

Family Bowling Pass

Get A Family Pass For Less Today! After you’ve created your account, upgrade to our Kids Bowl Free family pass, which allows adults in your family to enjoy the same great FREE Bowling offer as your kids. You pay it one time, and you can bowl with your kids all summer long. !It’s great for parents, grandparents, older siblings and babysitters. Use Coupon Code: NoJoke5

You’ll save $5 on your Family Pass Today! Just go to the website at:

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 pm
  • Parent & Child Safety Swim Sessions: For ages 6 months to 36 months and a guardian | Saturdays, 9-9:45 am
  •  Preschool Group Swim Lessons: Ages 3-5 | Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1-2 pm
  •  Private Swim Lessons: All ages, adults included | upon availability

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

Are your kiddos ready to take their swimming skills to the next level? The Wellness Center is now offering an Advanced Skills Swim class for children ready to learn more advanced strokes, breathing techniques, and become more confident in the water.

The next session starts July 3. Complete this form to sign up or get more information:

Attached at the Heart Parenting Program

Weekly free sessions

Register Now!

Attached at the Heart Parenting Program

Weekly free sessions

Register Now!

Coffee & Conversation for Grandfamilies

  • Support
  • Information
  • Resources

1st Monday each month at 10:00 AM
Memorial Park Community Center
Johnson City

Prime Your Parenting with resources from Appalachian Promise Alliance

Series, groups, training and more!

Library, handouts, babycarriers, coaching, and consulting!

Free Reading Resources

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?

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

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.

Parenting Sweet is here 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. Have information to share? Submit it to


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