Rotkreuz, 23.02.2021

Parents should be able to network

In times of digitalisation, you no longer know everyone in the village. And certainly not someone whom you could entrust with the care of your child. A young mother from the Rotkreuz now wants to change this, and is launching the "Neighbourhood work for parents".

Living with children is a crazy adventure. When home office duty, home schooling and childcare all come together in the Corona crisis, there can be a huge mess. But even without Corona restrictions in, everything doesn't always go smoothly in the everyday madness with children. Especially if there are no grandparents or godparents nearby who could look after them. In addition, as parents, one doesn’t always have sufficient connections with other parents in your own community.

Laura Pannullo from Rotkreuz has set herself the goal of solving this problem – and has launched the project "Quartierhilfe für Eltern" (neighbourhood help for parents). For the soon-to-be mother-of-two, support for long-term care in her personal environment is difficult, as her daughter's grandparents do not live in the same canton. This led her to come up with the idea of local help for parents. "The Parent Network project was created gradually through exchanges with other mothers."

The 35-year-old has also read many times that lunch places in schools are limited, and that parents often have to organise themselves elsewhere. She explains: "Many parents work, and the working hours in certain occupations are longer than normal office hours, or the parents have to work shifts."

Added to this is the problem of the lockdown: at the beginning of the year, the Federal Office of Public Health strongly recommended that the care of children should not be carried out by grandparents wherever possible.

Quickly find support in the local area
With her parent network, Laura Pannullo wants to fill any gaps in childcare, in addition to the well-known offers: Why should parents who live nearby and also have children not support each other? Pannullo: "The exchange with other mothers has shown that single parents in particular would be grateful for this option."

Parent network initiator Laura Pannullo
Photo: PD

Thanks to her new parent network, it should be possible, for example, to ensure the care of the children after school (until the parents finish working) or to find a place at a lunch table. "Whether it's long-term or short-term, or even spontaneous, support: the focus is on neighbourhood assistance and the mutual support and networking of the parents in Zug," continues Laura Pannullo.

In addition, it can also be advantageous for personal appointments, such as a visit to the doctor or shopping, if you can take the child to a neighbour. "Due to the pandemic and the more difficult financial conditions that this has caused, not every family can afford a babysitter. In addition, day mothers and nannies can only be booked on a daily basis, and not by the hour," explains the young mother.

What the childcare experts think
The non-profit association KibiZ Kinderbetreuung Zug is also committed to family-complementary care in the canton of Zug. "Parents often have the same topics, questions, concerns, interests," says KibiZ Managing Director Esther Krucker. She likes the idea of a childcare offer within the framework of the local parental support: "I see this project as an ideal complement to our professional offer: a place where parents can find help, for example, in the case of emergencies, short-term appointments, in the evening or at weekends, when day-care centres, but also kindergartens and schools are closed," Krucker adds: "Personally, I always find it great when parents organise themselved, exchange ideas and support each other," adds Krucker. That is why this kind of "bottom-up engagements", in this case the initiative of the parents, seem to make sense to her. On the one hand, because there is obviously a real interest or a real need. And on the other because those affected are willing to become involved in terms of time and content. "This cannot be arranged top-down."

Is there any demand for such projects at the moment? "Parents with children in the toddler phase may be interested in such a network, but due to the stress (small children, family and work agreement, commuting, etc.), they ultimately have little time to become involved," Krucker suspects.

The project is intended to sustainably promote neighbourhood assistance in the canton of Zug. "Neighbourhood aid is becoming increasingly important because of the pandemic, and has now become known to everyone in the meantime. The willingness to help each other has increased," says Pannullo, drawing from her own experience.

"Only the contact is mediated"
The social commitment of the parents involved in the project is voluntary. Thanks to Pannullo and her assistants Sandra Hain (Administration) and Rosa Kolm (advertising platform via the Facebook group "Zuger helfen Zugern"),  those who register should be able to find a person who is as close as possible to their own place of residence and who is available at the right time to assist them with child care. Each party is asked about this in advance via the data exchange, and only then will the contact be made known via Pannullo and her helpers.

"Further details can then be discussed in person between the two parties – we only create the contact."

If no care can be provided, despite the match, a new contact will be mediated.

The project is still in the build-up phase. For the time being, therefore, the registration is limited up to 28 February. "So that we can take stock," continues Laura Pannullo. If the project has a good response, the registration window for additional parents will be reopened.

If you are interested in the project and would like to network with other Zug parents in your district, you can contact Laura Pannullo, who appears on Facebook as "Laura Lullo", via the Facebook group "Kinderbetreuung Kanton Zug", or contact her via e-mail: kinderbetreuung.zug@hotmail.com.