New Parents Connecting is an open group that meets Fridays from 10 to 11.30 a.m. at Tokyo Union Church in downtown Tokyo. This is a safe place where you can come as a parent together with your small child(ren) to connect with other parents, share the joys & burdens of parenthood and enjoy a fun and unpretentious program in English.
The aim of this gathering is to help parents of small children connect and share the joys & burdens of parenthood. Being a parent is one of the most challenging things in life. Being a parent in a country that is not your own is even more daunting. Most of us do not have their own parents and their trusted group of friends around to help, support and give advice. We want to provide a meeting place where parents can support and encourage one another.
We gather in a baby / child-friendly room and start out by singing some fun songs on the guitar that babies can enjoy and toddlers can join in with. There will be some gestures to learn as well! We will pause to go around the circle and introduce ourselves after which we wrap up with a story from a good book.
The second part of the gathering, we will enjoy some coffee, tea or water with a homemade, healthy snack that we will serve to everyone. This is a time to connect with the other parents as the children enjoy their snacks. We will have some toys available for children that are done eating while their parent is not done talking… There is also a safe playground on the balcony adjacent to the room where we meet where the older children can run around, climb and discover.
Some of the meetings, we will invite experienced parents or professionals to share of their experience and knowledge. One of our recurring guest speakers is Aimee Rogers who is a licensed pediatrician from the U.S. She will briefly address some of the most common questions and concerns that parents of young children may have. Another special guest is Margot Harmsen from South Africa who will share some of her best recipes for healthy snacks. Will we announce these kind of guest speakers in advance.
- Time: We gather every Friday starting September 12th, 2014 from 10 to 11.30 a.m.
- Location: Tokyo Union Church, 4th floor, 5-7-7 Jingumae, Shibuya, 150-0001. Access via Tokyo Metro: a five minutes walk from the A1 exit of Omote-sando station (Chiyoda, Ginza and Hanzomon Lines).
- Contribution: We ask for a 300 Yen contribution per gathering to cover the cost of coffee/tea and a nice snack.
- Sign up: Signing up is not obligatory and everyone is welcome to join. However, we do appreciate you dropping Hanna a note when you plan to come as this will help us to prepare better. Please leave your name, the name and age of your child and your e-mail address.
- Contact: For more questions or for sign-ups, please contact Hanna Peterson via e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org or find “Hanna Zuring Peterson” on Facebook.
The people behind the idea
This group was started by Hanna & Chris Peterson, parents of Asher (2) and Livia (9 months) who moved to Tokyo from Stockholm, Sweden in May 2014. Hanna is originally Dutch and Chris is from Minnesota in the U.S. Chris serves as an associate pastor at Tokyo Union Church. As they themselves experience the challenges of parenting in a new environment, they wanted to meet with other parents and share this journey. With the space made available at Tokyo Union Church in the heart of Tokyo, this idea was soon turned into reality.
Can I come with a child that is older than 3?
The program is geared at children age 0-3. If however, you have a child in that age range and an older sibling, you are of course welcome to bring both.
Is this a Christian gathering?
This group is open to every parent, no matter your (faith) background. However, some of the songs we sing will be Christian songs as this is what Hanna and Chris know and enjoy. We will also occasionally inform you about upcoming family events at Tokyo Union Church. If you feel comfortable with that, then you are very welcome.
Is this gathering for foreigners only?
This group is open to every parent, no matter your nationality. We do ask that you speak English only, so that all who come will feel included.
Do you have facilities for baby care?
On the 1st floor (entrance / reception), there is a large bathroom with a baby seat (while you use the toilet) and a changing table. On the 4th floor, where we gather, there is a special bathroom for children with a smaller toilet. There is also a small kitchen with a water tap. If you would like to nurse your baby in private, we can open a separate room for you on the fourth floor, next to our meeting room.