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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 November 2023 Highlights.

   Monthly Fun Poll

How do you celebrate this time of year?

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

Chanukah Party

Sunday, December 10th, 2023 at 5PM

2510 Highway 126, Bristol, TN.

Bring your Menorah, your candles, and a dish to share at the Chanukah party! The B’nai Sholom Congregation invites you and your family to join their holiday celebration.

Please RSVP to Stephanie Smith at or 423-306-1456 by December 8th.

The event is free, but donations are accepted in memory of Ricki Kaplan for the Kitchen Fund.

Prime Your Parenting with resources from Appalachian Promise Alliance

Join the community of parents and caregivers in our region! We hold weekly Parenting Prime Time meetups on Sunday afternoons at 3:30pm both online (RSVP for online) and in-person (RSVP for in-person) at the Parenting Sweet at 100 Ash Street, Bristol, TN (leftmost outside door). 

This is a judgment-free zone to share stories, ask questions, and gain confidence on your parenting journey. It is also a great place to volunteer and encourage and support other parents. Each week has a topic, but the primary focus is whatever you want it to be. Come relax, vent, and build connections with caregivers experiencing similar situations. Very young children are welcome to join. 

Be sure to RSVP at least eight hours before the meetup time.

Grinchmas at Covered Bridge Park

Saturday, December 16th, 3PM-5PM

The Covered Bridge Park

To close out the holiday season with a touch of whimsy, join the Carter County Bank, the Elizabethton Chamber and the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library, for Grinchmas in the Park. Visit Santa and Mrs. Claus, participate in gingerbread house smashing with the Grinch, have a snowball fight with the abominable snowman, and enjoy cookies with the Gingerbread man. It’s the perfect way to prepare for Christmas Day!

Attached at the Heart Parenting Program registration now open!

The Parenting Sweet is beginning registration for the January 2024 the Attached at the Heart Parenting Program!

Take advantage of the free registration for a limited time, and register yourself, your partner, and any other caregivers:

Life is busy. Parenting keeps you even busier. As a parent, it can feel like your whole schedule revolves around your kids– it’s time to do something for yourself that will benefit the whole family.

Participants will learn about child development and expectations, proven strategies for tantrums and chores, and find support and friendships. Feel confident in your parenting skills and yourself!

Christmas Ukulele Class

Get in the Holiday Spirit and add some musical joy to your season! Learn basic chords and strumming to holiday songs and carols in this 4 week beginner group class. This class is offered for families (parent & child) and individuals (ages 13-adult). Students must bring their own ukulele.

Bristol Academy of Music has a limited supply of instruments that may be rented for the class for an additional fee. Please contact us for additional information about purchasing or renting.

COST: $75/person

Thursdays 4-4:30pm (family) or 7-7:30pm (individual)

Register HERE!

Caroling on Main Street in Bluff City

Anyone wishing to participate, please meet at Thomas Memorial Library 5:30pm
• Will sing carols down Main Street, down to Rescue Squad, cross street and back down Main Street
• If you live on Main Street and would like the carolers to stop and sing in front of your home, please leave your porch light on
• If anyone is interested, please contact us at or on Facebook at Bluff City Family Committee or by email at or by calling 423-765-5407 by December 9th so we can get a head count.

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 at!

Kingsport Christmas Parade

Saturday, December 2nd at 6:00 pm.

Kick off the Christmas season in Downtown Kingsport at our nighttime Christmas Parade! All parade entries are lit with Christmas lights, providing a magical holiday experience.

Immediately after the parade, be sure to gather around Church Circle for the lighting of the Christmas Tree at 7:45 pm, which will include a candlelight ceremony and carols.

Visit to see the rest of Kingsport’s 2023 holiday festivities!

Gratitude Playlist

Giving thanks has a tangible impact on our bodies and minds! Studies show this practice helps reduce stress, soothe us, and even improve sleep. Come up with a new practice that feels authentic to YOUR family!

Elizabethton Christmas Parade: Season of Lights

Main Street Elizabethton is excited to host the annual Elizabethton Christmas Parade in Downtown Elizabethton on Saturday, December 9, 2023, at 6 p.m.

The theme of this year’s parade is “Season of Lights”. Participants are encouraged to decorate floats that shine. This year’s theme is all about showcasing the magic of Christmas through the joy of lights. Twinkling lights, light-up accessories, and creativity with the theme are all encouraged!

Main Street will honor The City of Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Department as the Grand Marshal to celebrate the light they bring to our community with family-friendly events and accessible outdoor spaces.

All are encouraged to come out to enjoy an evening filled with lights, laughter, and joy as Main Street Elizabethton celebrates the Christmas season!

Tips for Dealing with Travel Stress

Travel comes with the potential for stress, and that’s why it’s so great that we’re wired to connect and calm each other’s nervous systems.

If you’re traveling with young children over the holidays, try these three tips to store up good feelings before and during the trip:

1) Offer cuddles or belly-to-belly hugs;

2) Provide two age-appropriate choices so they can feel more in control of their experience;

3) SING!! The lower the tone, the more it resonates and the sillier you can be together (laughter helps us calm and regulate, too!)

Thank you to our partners at Nurturings for the parent encouragement and information!

Santa at the Farm

Santa is coming to the Funny Farm on December 16th, 2023, from 12pm to 3pm!

Wear your cute outfits, throw some boots on, and bring the camera. Santa will be taking photos, interacting with you all, and hanging out with the animals.
Grab your tickets HERE!

Family Playtime

The Children’s Resource Center’s Family Playtime is spreading across our region! It is now in available in Scott county, Hawkins county, and Abingdon. Join a Family Playtime session near you.

Family Breakfast with Santa

December 2nd, 2023 at 8:30am

Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace

Join a fun morning that will become a family tradition for years to come. Breakfast with Santa includes a full breakfast buffet, reindeer games, and crafts.
– Adult tickets: $27
– Child tickets: $17
– Children under 2 are admitted for free.

Breakfast menu includes a delicious spread made up of biscuits and gravy, eggs, bacon, sausage, hashbrown casserole, pancakes, apples, coffee, orange juice, and milk.

Children have the chance to participate in a number of reindeer games, including gingerbread decorating, art corner, candy cane scavenger hunt, hot chocolate bombs, letters to Santa, and snowman corn hole.

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!  

Breakfast with Santa

Chucky Depot Museum in Jonesborough, TN on Saturday, December 16th.

Breakfast times are 8:30am, 9:30am, and 10:30am that Saturday morning. Guests of all ages will enjoy a meal from Chick-fil-a. They’ll meet Santa Claus in the Depot’s warehouse and listen as he reads a holiday classic that features a magical train. Each family that attends will also receive a special, Christmas ornament for their tree. All of this is included in the ticket price of $20.00. Breakfast times are limited to 25 people, so make sure you get your tickets before they’re gone.

Tickets for Breakfast with Santa can be purchased online at or by phone by calling the Jonesborough Visitors Center at 423-753-1010.

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.

“A Christmas Carol” presented by Theatre Bristol

“A Christmas Carol” opens November 17, and runs for five weekends at The Theatre Bristol ARTspace, Fridays at 7:30 pm (except November 24), Saturdays at 7:30 pm, and Sundays at 2:30 pm, closing on December 17.

Tickets are $12 for adults plus fees ($13.50 total) and $10 for seniors and students plus fees ($11.50 total), and are available at

Strengthening Families

The Strengthening Families Program is a family-focused parenting class for parents, grandparents and caregivers. The class includes highly interactive topics geared toward managing stress, improving communication skills, goal setting, solving problems as a family and discipline. The program utilizes role-plays, discussions and family projects along with providing developmentally appropriate examples for common problems from preschoolers to teens.

Christmas Around the World

Join the Appalachian Men’s Ensemble for a musical journey around the globe in search of holiday cheer. The public is invited to attend two performances of “Christmas Around the World” on Saturday, December 16th. The 3:00 performance will take place at Central Presbyterian Church, 331 Euclid Avenue in Bristol, VA, followed by a 7:30 performance at Gray United Methodist Church, 2108 Oak Street in Gray, TN.

“This program explores a rich variety of Christmas musical traditions from around the world,” said conductor and artistic director Dr. Noah DeLong. “We hope audience members will be both entertained and enlightened by attending one of our upcoming concerts.”

Donations will be accepted at the door, with suggested amounts of $10 for adults and $5 for students.

Babywearing Library and Coaching

The Parenting Sweet has a variety of wraps, slings, buckle carriers, and more for parents’ convenience! Come in to try out different styles and learn the best fit for you and your baby.

Contact us at to learn more!

Gingerbread Party

December 14th, 2023 at 5:30pm

Rural Resources (2870 Holly Creek Rd)

Join Rural Resources for a Gingerbread House Building Party!

In this event, led by Pastry Chef Heather McNally, each adult/child team will get freshly baked gingerbread house components, frosting and a variety of candies to create their own masterpieces.

Register HERE!

Coffee & Conversation for Grandfamilies

  • Support
  • Information
  • Resources

Are you a grandparent raising grandchildren? Join us on the 1st Monday of each month at 10:00 AM to connect with other grandparents in similar situations, discuss trials and tribulations, and get information and resources on raising children in today’s society.

Meet at Memorial Park Community Center
(Johnson City).

Parents’ Night Out: Holiday Edition

Thursday, December 14 from 6:30-9:30pm

Kids ages 3-10 can meet at the Bristol Ballet studios for a Creative Movement class, a Grinch-themed holiday craft, and a showing of the Jim Carrey version of The Grinch! Snacks and craft supplies are included. The cost is $20 per child with a $5 per sibling discount for multiple children. This is a great opportunity to get your Christmas shopping done while the whole family has a great time dancing!

To register, go to or email We hope you join us!

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.

“The Nutcracker” presented by Kingsport Ballet

Kingsport Ballet is excited to bring this beloved holiday classic to the regional community! The magical NUTCRACKER ballet will be performed December 7th through December 10th at Northeast State Community College. Hand-painted backdrops, stunning costuming and a large cast of unforgettable characters are ready to bring you Christmas cheer!

Get your tickets here:


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:

A Better Reason for Elf to be on the Shelf

The original Elf on the Shelf story claims the Elf on the Shelf’s sole job is to watch children and report their bad behaviors to Santa, but what if Elf on the Shelf could be more than that?

Find out how Tara combated this issue with her own Elf on the Shelf origin story.

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.

Visit for meeting schedules!

Fewer Toys: For Better or For Worse?

Christmas is right around the corner and, if you’re a parent, I’m sure your children already have wishlists full of all the newest toys and gadgets, but how many toys do children really need? According to an article from Green Child Magazine, “kids benefit from having fewer toys, and you can benefit from creating intentional (and minimal) play options for your child”.

Read the full article HERE.

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


Are you or do you know a pregnant or parenting teen in need of support? Then they need MOMS R US!

The YWCA’s MOMS R US program provides both virtual and in-person classes to share education, resources, and encouragement to support teen health, academic studies, and overall well-being.

First-time pregnant and parenting teenagers who are 19 and younger are eligible for free enrollment!

Register online: Email: Workshops offered include Prepared Childbirth and Parenting and Support Group for Teen Parents.

Dates and times will vary based on the need of each teen parent!

Cookies with Santa

Saturday, December 16 · 9am – 12pm EST

Hurd Realty (110 Klm Drive Suite 8 Johnson City, TN 37615)

Get into the holiday spirit with a FREE community Christmas celebration at Hurd Realty. Bring your family and friends to meet Santa Claus. Enjoy delicious cookies, festive music, and lots of fun activities for everyone. This in-person event promises to be a merry and magical experience for all. We can’t wait to see you there!

Find more information HERE!

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.

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.

Swim Lessons Year-Round

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.

Upcoming Parenting Opportunities

Learn, question, and meet other parents and caregivers!

  • Registering now for Attached at the Heart 10-week parenting program beginning in January 2024!
  • Mom Power Series by Families Free will be starting sessions over again soon! – FREE, IN PERSON
  • Family Playtime is expanding their services to serve more counties – FREE, 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
  • AHH Babies breastfeeding in-person meetup on Fourth Tuesdays at the YWCA – 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!

 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, Ahh Babies – Appalachian Highlands Healthy Babies – 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, Parenting Sweet, Tricities Parenting, Tricities Babywearing, High Country Doulas, ETSU Family Physicians, Bethany Services, TriCities Babywearing TN, Sullivan County Health Department, Strong Starts, TN Voices, 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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