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).  

Parent's Survival Guide for the Elementary Years Elementary Age Children Running

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: Thursday, April 19, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Cost: FREE! Space is limited and registration is required!
Who Should Attend: Parents and Guardians
Where: Running Brook Elementary School, 5215 W. Running Brook Rd, Columbia, MD 21044
Register By Phone (voice/relay): 410-313-1940  
Register Online for Parent's Survival Guide for the Elementary Years


Teen Parenting Strategies: Strengthening Relationships and Improving Behavior

Teen Parenting Strategies: Strengthening Relationships and Improving Behavior

Parenting a teen today can be extremely challenging and frustrating.  Parents typically find that as children grow into the teen years, new behaviors emerge and the old methods used to interact with them need a new approach in order to be successful. Attend this workshop to:

  •  Review common behavior problems in teens
  •  Learn strategies to communicate and strengthen your relationship
  •  Create a positive environment for your relationship to grow
  •  Introduce strategies to improve your teen’s behavior
  •  Learn ways to encourage your teen to choose positive coping skills
  •  Learn techniques to teach and demonstrate strategies to help your child process and solve their worries
When: Wednesday, April 26, 2018 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Where: Clarksville Middle School, Media Center, 6535 S. Trotter Rd, Clarksville, MD 21029
Cost: FREE; Space is limited; pre-registration is required
Who Should Attend: Parents, Grandparents & Guardians
Register By Phone (voice/relay): 410-313-1940
Register Online for Teen Parenting Strategies: Strengthening Relations and Improving Behavior 


Family First Workshop Series
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:  Wednesdays, Spring 2018; 6:30 – 8:00
Location: Howard County Office of Children and Families, 3300 N. Ridge Rd., Suite #360, Ellicott City, 21043             
Cost: $8 per class ($35 for complete five-part series)
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 (Wednesday, May 9 • 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 (Wednesday, May 16 • 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 (Wednesday, May 23 • 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)
Part 1 (Wednesday, May 30 • 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. 
Part 2 (Wednesday, June 13 • 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!

Behavior Basics & Managing Meltdowns
Do tantrums, power struggles and misbehavior make daily life difficult in your household? 
Social Emotional Foundations of Early Learning (SEFEL) is a comprehensive, research based approach that considers all the factors that impact a child and family. Learn how to teach your child new skills to replace challenging behaviors. Learn how to set the stage to decrease negative behaviors from happening in the first place and what to do when they do occur. Leave this 3-part workshop with skills and resources that you can use immediately that will help you feel more confident in your parenting.

When: 3 Thursdays; May 10, 17 & 24
Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Location: Howard County Office of Children and Families, 3300 N. Ridge Rd. Suite #360
Cost: $18
Who Should Attend: Parents, Grandparents & anyone involved with children ages 1-6
Register Online for Behavior Basics & Managing Meltdowns
Register By Phone (voice/relay): 410-313-1940 

Happy Child Circle Time
Children come with a lot of different feelings. Feelings can be overwhelming for them when they don't yet know what they are. Learning social emotional skills can be worked on even in the early years and understanding how to support your child is very important!  
Come together with other families for fun circle time activities where children can play around with all their feelings. See interactive ways your children can learn these skills and leave with ideas that you can use every day along with your own take away to use at home.

When: Saturday, May 19, 10:30 a.m.
Location: Howard County Library System, Elkridge Branch, Hockley Meeting Room, 6540 Washington Blvd., Elkridge 21075
Cost: FREE! Space is limited; pre-registration is required
Who Should Attend: Parent and child (ages 3-5 years)
Register Online for Happy Child Circle Time
Register By Phone (voice/relay): 410-313-1940 

Worries, Concerns & Apprehension
Even in the Elementary years, schoolwork, friends, reactions to negative experiences, or just the anticipation of something happening can overwhelm a child. With all of these everyday occurrences, many parents report about the anxiety and stress that it puts on their children and the entire family. 
Attend this workshop to:
Review the signs and the symptoms of worry in children 
Understand how to identify what is causing your child stress 
Learn techniques to teach and demonstrate strategies to help your child...process and work through their worries
Ask questions to a mental health professional on how to help your family

When: Thursday, May 31, 6:30 p.m.
Location: Elkridge Elementary School, 7075 Montgomery Rd, Elkridge 21075
Cost: FREE; Space is limited; pre-registration is preferred
Who Should Attend: Parents, Grandparents & Guardians (NO Child Care)
Register Online for Worries, Concerns & Apprehension
Register By Phone (voice/relay): 410-313-1940 

 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. View the current issue, if you need this publication in an alternate format, please call 410-313-1940 (voice/relay). Would you like to be notified of upcoming Family Institute workshops? Sign-Up to receive the quarterly Parent Pages e-newsletter and updates.

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!