Dads’ FAQs: Parenting courses

12 October 2012


Questions we have been asked include:

‘Court has ordered a dad to take parenting classes: who should he contact?’

‘Where can father take children during contact visits?’

‘Where would I find a dads’ group near me?’

‘Since the baby’s arrived we’ve been arguing more – what can I do to nip this in the bud?’

Parenting is hard work and can be complex, especially if families split. Whatever the situation, there are no easy or pat answers, so it can help to be as prepared as you can be, and to seek assistance as issues arise. Although some organisations run father-only services and events, it’s not necessary for dads to only be with other men when they are learning about being effective parents. And, if you take your children with you, they may benefit from mixing with others, and you might find that you pick up tips for making the most of your time with your children by exchanging ideas with other fathers and mothers.

Sure Start Children’s Centres

These state-funded centres offer support from pregnancy through to when your child goes into reception class. They are also great places for children, often holding a range of free groups and classes, as well as playgroups, for babies and young children. Centres differ depending on the needs of the community. In some areas parenting classes are available universally (often you will have to pay a contribution towards the cost); in others they are targeted on families identified as being in particular need of support. Find contact details for your local centre from the Government website, or phone 0870 000 2288. Read more about your child’s eligibility for free early education.

Other support

Positive Parenting, part of a UK charity called Care for the Family, runs various ‘Time Out…’ courses for dads and mums in the UK. Check their website to see if there is one near you. They can be reached on 0845 643 1939 or They also publish a selection of handbooks for parents. For useful online parenting advice, check out Parentchannel TV – an online service aimed at those who care for children aged five to 19. It covers wellbeing, behaviour and learning. Family Lives offers plenty of free advice and non-judgmental support for all of those involved in bringing up a child – including dads, grandparents, non-resident parents and stepparents. It runs a free, confidential helpline on 0808 800 2222 (7am to midnight) and covers all aspects of family life – from family breakdown to bullying and risky teenage behaviour.

Fatherhood Institute workshops

Raising Happy Children is a series of workshops for expectant and new mums and dads, created by the Fatherhood Institute. The focus of the workshops is support for ‘team parenting’ – mums’ and dads’ capacity to work well together as parents, rather than pulling in different directions or assuming one of them (usually the mother) needs to take responsibility for doing and/or organising the caring. Successful team parenting has been shown by research to be key to children’s development and wellbeing. Three types of Raising Happy Children face-to-face workshops are available in three boroughs as part of a Government pilot called CAN Parent: Camden, Middlesbrough and High Peak. Find out more here about the CAN Parent pilot, and the other providers offering parenting classes as part of it, here.

An online version of Raising Happy Babies is available in High Peak as part of the CAN Parent pilot – and in the following areas as part of a Government pilot called The 3 of Us (face-to-face couple relationship support is also available):

  • Essex (Braintree, Colchester, Harlow)
  • London (City, Hackney, Islington, Westminster)
  • Leeds
  • Plymouth
  • York.

Find out more about The 3 of Us pilot here. If you live outside the areas covered by these pilots but would be interested in organising a face-to-face workshop in your area, please contact us by email at

Hit the Ground Crawling is our pioneering antenatal programme for dads, where dads-to-be get to quiz new dads and practice hands-on caring with young babies. It’s currently only available in a few areas, where local authorities have commissioned us to train their staff to run it. Find out more here. Ask your midwife, health visitor and/or Children’s Centre manager if it’s available in your area and if not, give them our number 0845 634 1328 so they can find out more.

Find links to other Dads’ FAQs articles here.


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