First-time parents taking free course

All you need is love, language and learning to connect with your baby.


A pilot program in Toronto is teaching first-time parents how to better bond with their infants and encourage their development.


“Sometimes parents aren’t sure how to interact with their babies,” said public health nurse Faith Idemudia, who yesterday wrapped up a program at Oakridge Community Centre on Pharmacy Avenue, just north of the Danforth. “But by the end, they’ve really bonded.”


The program, called Make The Connection, is different than the usual post-partum classes, which cover basics such as feeding and health. Instead, Make The Connection — created by the First Three Years, a charitable organization based in Toronto — works on the parent-child bond. Classes are free, funded by the city and Ontario government.


The City of Toronto took a look at its child health programs about five years ago, conducting an international review of parenting programs. Part of the focus on parent-child interactions was due to the early years report by Dr. Fraser Mustard and Margaret McCain, which advocated better community support for families.