Lara kisses her son on the cheek.

Little Elf Family Services

Lara Elfstrand: A tour guide on the adventure into parenting

A Word from Lara

Supporting young families in the South San Francisco Bay area

I have been called "a tour guide on the adventure into parenting."  I team up with new parents to create a vision for their family and a plan for how to get there. I do this through group classes and family consultations. Parents get to build routines and rituals of connection that fit into their busy lives. Together as a team we create strategies so they can accomplish their family's goals. 

The Gottman Institute's research-based Bringing Baby Home workshops prepare couples for life with a baby and help them be the best parenting team possible. In a relaxed and supportive environment, parents learn to strengthen their relationship and foster their baby’s development. They build on what Dr. Gottman and colleagues found is the best predictor of marital adjustment after a new baby arrives: the quality of friendship in the marriage. When babies grow up in a home with a positive, playful parenting team, they feel safe and nurtured and available to learn. They cry less, they smile more, and their parents' cooperation helps them to pay better attention during play time so that they get more out of it.

I have done consultations to support children's development since 2009.  During my consultations, I focus on listening well before offering advice, pointing out the positive, and modeling positive, playful strategies.  When you are ready for advice, I have lots of resources and strategies that we can try together!  Each child and family are different, and parenting is a process of trial and error.  Together, we can find strategies that work for your child and family that fit into your busy schedule.  Usually consultations happen in the family's home, but they can also happen in parks or libraries or anywhere you normally spend time.  

When should we take the Bringing Baby Home class?

I have taught Bringing Baby Home classes to young couples and families in a variety of life stages—considering parenthood, expecting a baby, or with an infant or toddler at home.  Bringing Baby Home is focused on building rituals of connection that will last the lifetime of your relationship. It is applicable whether it is your first baby or you have other children at home. However, the earlier you take the class, the more time and energy you have to practice the material before you need it.  If you are expecting a baby, keep in mind that the second trimester of pregnancy is often the easiest time to take the class because new mothers often have more energy and less morning sickness during the second trimester. 

Where do you teach?

So far I have held my classes at ConnectEd in San Jose, California; the South Bay Homebirth Collective in San Jose, California; and Blossom Birth in Palo Alto, California. Families have come from near and far to join my classes, including San Jose, Milpitas, Fremont, Los Gatos, South San Francisco, Los Altos, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Foster City, Pacifica, and Gilroy.  I taught my first Bringing Baby Home couple in Redlands, California in 2015, and I have been teaching regularly since then. At least two couples have taken the class who after recently moving to Silicon Valley from the east coast.  Two other couples have traveled to San Jose from Nevada to join my weekend classes.

"...[The Bringing Baby Home class] was a great experience and [we] will recommend it to new parents... It was great to share our stories and thoughts with the group in hopes that if it happens to them, they know they aren’t alone." -Mother of an 18-month old [More]

"Most classes focus on baby baby baby but this course equally addresses the two people that made the baby!" - Father of a newborn [More]

"...We are closer than ever and really got great benefit from your class." - Parent of an 18-month old [More]

One of the greatest predictors of performance in school turns out to be the emotional stability of the home.
— John Medina -- Brain Rules (Brain Rule #4: Stressed Brains Don't Learn the Same Way)

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I was recently interviewed on Your Healthy Living, a show that inspires healthy and natural lifestyles. Hosts Alexandrew and Dr. Shasta Tierra interview a new guest every week about their professions in helping lead others to healthier lives both physically and mentally.