Happy baby in a toxic world: Parental café, Iceland



Parental café about the everyday chemicals in small children’s lives, and how to make chemically clever choices.



Chemicals are everywhere. Babies are generally more prone to environmental impacts than adults and are more likely to absorb certain substances in the body. Babies and fetuses have a more sensitive nervous system, immune system and reproductive system. Babies also put things in their mouth and taste their environment, and they eat and drink more than adults in relation to body weight. Many young parents are worried about the chemical exposure, and want to know how they can protect their children.



Café-style lecture with Powerpoint-show, discussion and refreshments. Since the audience needs to bring their babies, the event needs to allow a relaxed atmosphere where the parents can answer to the children’s needs while they listen. Chemicals in care-products, textiles, toys and indoor-climate are on the agenda: it is possible to make a big difference by changed habits and consumption. The parental café could either be arranged by your own organization, or the lecture could be offered to other organizers who are in contact with the target group, e.g. municipality and kindergartens.


Facilitating a mobile audience

Parents bringing their babies is a very special audience: Interested and active, and at the same time shattered by the somewhat unpredictable needs of their small ones.

The location should have room for strollers and babies, and the atmosphere needs to be relaxed so that mums and dads don’t get stressed if a little darling gets displeased. It should feel totally okay to walk around, breastfeed, change nappies or whisper to a toddler. That’s why the café-style lecture is the perfect solution. Serving of coffee and tea signals it is allowed to move around. Lots of cold water should be available: Breastfeeding mums are very thirsty. Be receptive to taking a break earlier than you planned to. Look at your audience and you’ll see when the time is right.

The size of the group also matters. No more than 25 mothers or fathers with babies enables for the lecturer to be close to the group and interact with them. The smaller the group, the more likely people are to ask questions and contribute to the conversation. A bigger group is also possible, but keep in mind that babies tend to talk too, so in that case you might need a microphone.

Finally, parental cafés are a great way to get to an audience that is very eager to learn and do their best. Just be aware that some parents might be overwhelmed by the information you are presenting. Be vulnerable yourself and explain this is not easy, giving personal examples of how you have dealt with different situations and offer some calm and supportive advise.