The Family Institute

The Family Institute A parent education program

The Howard County Family Institute is a parent education program of the Office of Children and Families, Department of Community Resources and Services. We offer informational sessions and training workshops for parents on many topics, including child development, positive discipline, finding resources, and adolescent issues. Click here to view some of the workshops we have offered. To suggest topics for future workshops or to learn more, please email or call 410-313-1940 (voice/relay).  


young child having a temper tantrum  

Behavior Basics & Managing Meltdowns

Be proactive! Learn skills that will help your child in their transition into a new school year.



Elementary School Age


Parent’s Survival Guide For the Elementary Years

Changes occur with your child as they grow and develop in the elementary school years. Children fluctuate between independence and dependence and the combination can bring a wide range of behavior issues.
Attend this workshop to help understand how to help your 5 to 12 year old:
• Set the stage to create positive situations for empowerment and pride
• Develop consequences that work
• Gain strategies to handle oppositional behaviors
• Learn ways to develop better homework habits

When: Wednesday, November 15, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Location: Cradlerock Elementary School, 6700 Cradlerock Way, Columbia, MD 21045
Cost: FREE! Space is limited and registration is required!
Who Should Attend: Parents and Guardians
Child care available upon request (2 yrs. and older)
Register Online for Parent's Survival Guide For the Elementary Years
Register By Phone (voice/relay): 410-313-1940


Teen Anxiety: How to Help Your Teen

Teens that have parental support during stressful times are more likely to navigate daily struggles successfully and learn lifelong skills.

Adolescence is a stressful time filled with academic, community and social pressures. Stress tops the list of concerns of most teenagers today. To manage anxiety, teens must learn to practice positive emotional resiliency skills rather than avoiding situations that cause stress and developing maladaptive coping strategies. This workshop will discuss how to recognize anxiety, gain a better understanding on how to support your child, communicate with your teen about their symptoms, and ensure you don’t perpetuate or ignore anxious feelings to make them worse. Take part in an open discussion or submit questions anonymously.

When: Wednesday, December 6,  6:30 p.m.
Location: Atholton High School, 6520 Freetown Rd, Columbia, MD 21044 
Who Should Attend: Parents and Guardians Only
Cost: FREE! Space is limited and registration is required!
Register Online:
Register By Phone (voice/relay): 410-313-1940



Family First Workshop Series

A workshop series to help improve parenting skills and raise children with confidence and care

Join the Howard County Family Institute for a special series designed for parents and guardians raising children from birth to age eight. Learn about child development, how to encourage self-esteem and good behavior, positive guidance and discipline, and how to keep children safe and healthy. Each class, offered in an interactive group format, will include practical tips and advice for handling common situations, as well as hands-on activities.  Participants who complete all five classes can receive a Certificate of Completion upon request.

When:  Mondays, Winter 2018; 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. (see below side for dates)
Location: Howard County Office of Children and Families, 3300 N. Ridge Rd., Suite #360, Ellicott City, 21043             
Cost: $35 for complete five part series or $8 per class
Who Should Attend: Any parent, grandparent or caregiver who wants to improve their parenting skills and learn hands on ideas for raising a healthy, happy child ages birth to eight.
Register Online for The Family First Series
Register By Phone (voice/relay): 410-313-1940

Child Care is not provided

Be a Brain Builder: Know as They Grow (Monday, January 8 • 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.) Scientists have made discoveries about how a child's earliest experiences affect the way the brain is organized. By knowing what to expect as a child passes through typical stages, you are better able to respond to new behaviors and expand their learning experiences to build a strong foundation. Explore the ages and stages of child development in several areas such as cognitive, social-emotional, motor and language. Learn about the latest brain research, why early experiences matter and how your interaction with your child during their early years can have an impact on their learning abilities in the future.

Keeping Kids Healthy and Happy (Monday, January 22 • 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.) Learn how to choose healthy snacks, meals and beverages for children. Discuss common eating concerns such as picky eaters or refusal to eat. Explore nutrition labels and healthy eating on a budget. Learn more about the importance of exercise and how you can keep children active in a variety of fun and easy ways. 

Keeping Kids Safe (Monday, January 29 • 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.) Discuss safety-proofing your home for different ages; who to contact in an emergency, car seat safety, and tips on how to protect your child from abuse. Learn ways to cope with your own stress and how to teach children relaxation techniques and stress relief.  

Discipline and Communication Part 1 & 2 (double session)

Discipline and Communication Part 1 (Monday, February 12 • 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.) Set the stage for better behavior. Become familiar with temperament types and learn how to use this information to individualize your interactions with your child. Learn how to proactively prevent misbehavior by preparing your home and routine to encourage success. Discuss ways to effectively communicate with your child and the importance of structure, consistency and self-esteem to help build a growth mind set. 

Discipline and Communication Part 2 (Monday, February 26 • 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.) Learn how to teach children self-control and problem-solving techniques that they can use in the moment of behavior problems. Establish rules and logical consequences for misbehavior that are developmentally appropriate. Discuss behavior charts and a variety of other options to encourage behaviors that you want to see. Leave with practical strategies and tools to implement immediately!

 To request a sign language interpreter or other accommodation to attend a workshop, call 410-313-1940 (voice/relay) at least one week in advance.


Parent Pages Newsletter

Parent Pages is a family newsletter published by the Howard County Office of Children and Families. Each quarterly issue features news and tips from many of the programs in our office, including the Local Children's Board, Parents as Teachers, the CARE Center, Healthy Kids, and more. Parent Pages is a part of the Howard County Family Institute, an education and community outreach program. If you need this publication in an alternate format, please call 410-313-1940 (voice/relay). Access previous issues of Parent Pages.

The Office of Children and Families is a division of the Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services. We post updates on training classes, information on upcoming events, and reminders about parent workshops on the Community Resources and Services Facebook page. You'll also find posts from other divisions of Community Resources and Services; The Office on Aging and Independence, Disabilities Services, and Consumer Protection. We hope you'll "like" us!