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Summer camps are closed, and many families have canceled their summer trips due to concerns about COVID-19. As a result, many families will continue to be stuck at home this summer.
Claire Zlobin, founder of Ontario, Canada-based parenting support platform Life With A Baby, is here to help. Zlobin, who is also a board member for the Family Travel Association (FTA), decided to launch the FTA Classroom initiative as a way to incorporate travel and learning for families no longer on the go.
Available to travel advisors and family travelers, the free FTA Classroom series features online workshops and webinars via Facebook Live and Zoom, and can be accessed by following the Family Travel Association on Facebook. (To view past experiences, check out the #FTAClassroom hashtag on Facebook.) You can also learn more here.
Below, Zlobin shares insight into these family-focused initiatives.
What is Life With A Baby?Life With A Baby is a platform for moms to connect with one another and to share resources and community programming. After users join, they are then grouped based on where they live. We do meetups and events where moms can get together, and it’s especially useful for those feeling lonely after the birth of a new baby.
How has the company adjusted during the COVID-19 pandemic?We haven’t been running in-person events, but we’ve been offering online support groups and meetups. With Zoom, we’re able to interact; it’s not the same as gathering in person, but its helping people to feel less isolated.
The key part is our online postpartum depression and anxiety support group. We’re really happy that we’ve been able to do those digitally.
Will Life With A Baby resume in-person meetings anytime soon?In the future, we’re hoping we’ll be able to do social distancing meetups, such as stroller walks and circle time. However, that will supplement what we’re doing online.
What we’ve found is that people who live in more rural areas — and who aren’t able to access the in-person meetups — are now taking advantage of the online support. We have 72 chapters, but previously we weren’t able to meet the needs of everyone.
Having to adapt to COVID-19 has presented a solution to a problem that was already there. Going forward, we’ll continue the online programming because it will help support a larger range of people.
You also launched the FTA Classroom initiative. What is its goal?The FTA Classroom is a way to incorporate travel and learning in one campaign; so, we are able to meet the needs of families who are at home and who are missing travel.
Families can log in online to the event [wherever it is hosted] and participate in a workshop together. There are not a lot of summer camps, and a lot of things are closed. Parents are working, but they don’t want their kids to just be staring at television screens or playing video games all day. This is a good way for them to engage and learn a little bit more about our world.
How does the FTA involve its members in the series?We work with members of the FTA to put together webinars and workshops for FTA Classroom. For example, we have a Moroccan tea workshop coming up with Intrepid Travel Group, and they’re going to stream it live on their Facebook page.
It’s a way to help FTA members connect with families and fill the summer family travel gap.
Why do you think this series is so important for families right now?We did a family travel survey last year that asked about the Canadian travel landscape, and we recently followed up with a few of those families to see how they’re feeling. A lot of people just don’t feel safe traveling now, especially since many of them — like members of Life With A Baby — have young kids who are often under 8 years old. They’re very anxious about traveling with their kids and getting sick.
The workshops are live, so attendees will be able to interact, talk and share. We’re hoping that this is a way to build a community for those families.
The DetailsFamily Travel Associationwww.familytravel.org
Life With A Babywww.lifewithababy.com