“Thank you to Central Coast Funds for Children for their Ongoing Support of the RealCare Parenting Program.”
RealCare Parenting (www.realityworks.com) is a nationally recognized classroom aid used in teaching health and family living skills to teenage students. Since 1998 RealCare Parenting resources (formerly Baby Think It Over) has been provided to high schools in the county, public health nurses have utilized the dolls to educate clients and recently the Empathy Belly was used at educational event at Nipomo High School.
RealCare Parenting dolls are programmed to simulate the actual behaviors of a newborn to teach teens about the responsibility of parenting. When a student is responsible for the doll, the doll monitors the student’s response to demands for feeding, burping after feeding, rocking, soothing, diaper changing and head support. The student has the experience of attempting to ascertain and then respond to the “baby’s” needs. In addition, the dolls come with a heavy diaper bag car seat/carrier, which in addition to the baby’s weight, provide the experience of lifting, carrying, and positioning a newborn while going through the activities of everyday life. Typically, teens who use the doll say it has motivated them to wait to have children. When teens wait to have children until they are more mature, they are better prepared to be parents and less likely to abuse their children because of lack of the necessary parenting skills.
As a teaching method, the RealCare Parenting departs from lecturing strategies to allow students to learn interactively without placing a real baby at risk. The parenting simulation is low risk because it is time limited and reversible if the situation becomes unmanageable for teen participants. Before any “Baby” is allowed to go home with a teen, parental permission must be given by the teen’s parents.
RealCare Parenting resources are offered free to schools and youth groups upon request.
Contact SLO-CAP 805.543.6216 so we can talk about your program needs.