The Family Institute Library of Workshops


The Family Institute provides informational sessions and training workshops on the latest child and parent topics geared to children of all ages. Want to see what we have been up to?

Young Children

Growing Your Baby's Language: It's Natural! For parents of children from Birth to 2
Everyone knows that talking to our babies is important, but what does that really mean? In this session, parents will how to use research-based tools to develop a good foundation for communication as a part of their daily routine. From having conversations with your newborn to helping your child gain those early words, all the way into reading with your toddler, this interactive class is eye-opening and fun. Join Bonnie Bricker, M.S., for a session that will help you far beyond these early years.

Choosing Quality Child Care
Finding a child care setting to trust putting your child into is a very important yet stressful task. Don’t go unprepared! Attend one of these free workshop to help you make an educated decision on how to choose preschool, family child care, co-ops, or another type of program. Gather information to determine the best fit for your family. A child care counselor will discuss factors to consider, including schedule, price, location, activities, academic preparation, accreditation, and the differences between various types of programs.

How to be a Great Grandparent

A lot has changed in parenting since grandparents were parents! Learn the latest research based information to balance your tried and true skills with current best practices. Discuss your role as a grandparent verses being the parent. Discover ways to safeguard your home for infants and toddlers and gather important resources to help support your children in their new role as parents.

Behavior Basics and Managing Meltdowns

SEFEL, Social Emotional Foundations of Early Learning, is a comprehensive, research based approach that considers all of the factors that impact a child, family, and a child’s behavior. Learn how to teach your child new skills to replace challenging behavior rather than punishing. Learn how to set the stage to decrease negative behaviors from happening and what to do when they do occur. Leave this 2-part workshop with skills to use immediately and a follow up coaching session to help with implementation.

Give Peas a Chance: How to Reform Your Picky Eater
Most children will go through a stage of picky eating.  Although it is a normal developmental stage, it can result in mealtime battles that take a toll on the whole family.  There are many ways to help your child learn to enjoy new foods. Learn more about picky eating and strategies for raising a healthy eater.  Topics will include: When is it problem eating versus picky eating, what is your role as the parent and the child's role in establishing healthy eating habits, how do you keep from unintentionally using strategies that actually backfire, and how do you promote healthy eating on a budget?

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 8. 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 6 classes can receive a Certificate of Completion upon request. 

Family First: Exploring Childhood Stages of Development

A child passes through typical stages as he grows and learns. By knowing what to expect, you are better able to respond to new behaviors. 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 experience matters, and ways you can capitalize on these moments.

Family First: Keeping Kids Safe
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.  
Family First: Children’s Temperament and Parenting Styles
A child’s temperament affects his interactions with his parents and with the world. Become familiar with temperament types and learn how to use this information to individualize your interactions with your child. Learn how to encourage the development of positive self-esteem. Explore effective praise and find out what you can do to build self-esteem and what you may say that can accidentally backfire. 
Family First: Discipline and Communication Part 1
Set the stage for better behavior. 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 and consistency. 
Family First: Discipline and Communication Part 2
Learn how to teach children self-control and problem-solving techniques that they can use in the moment. 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 to implement immediately!
Family First: Keeping Kids Healthy
Learn how to choose healthy, age-appropriate 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 physically active in a variety of fun and easy ways.


School Age

Parents’ 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. Come to this workshop to help understand how to help your 5 to 12 year olds:
  • Set the stage to create positive situations for empowerment and pride
  • Develop consequences that work
  • Gain strategies to handle oppositional behaviors
  • Learn strategies for better homework habits

  • Internet Safety 101 for Parents
    Kids go online from school computers, friend's computers, laptops, tablets, cell phones, iPods, E-readers, game consoles and handheld gaming devices. Technology changes all the time and kids are constantly finding the newest websites, apps and gadgets. It's up to parents to teach children the basic rules of Internet safety so that they can use all of these responsibly. Learn what you can do to protect your children online no matter where they access the Internet.

    Raising Kids for Success 
    A child's or teen's "I Can Quotient" is a more important indicator of being able to thrive in life that the traditional IQ.  Learn strategies to increase your child's sense of feeling connected, capable, competent and courageous while at the same time fostering responsibility, and the problem solving and cooperative people skills needed for success in school now and into adulthood later.

    Friendship Skills for School and Life Success
    • Have you heard that your child doesn’t know how to play well with others?
    • Does your child cling to you in new environments?
    • Is he or she slow to warm around new kids?
    • Does your child prefer to just play alone?
    • Are you hoping they will just grow out of it?

    Social skills are at the top of the list of important school readiness skills. Parents can have a strong impact on their children’s social/emotional development to help their children learn positive interpersonal skills that breed both success in developing friendships as well as the “side effect” of stronger academic skills. Learn ways to intentionally impart this critical school and life skill.


    “The Talk”- Talking About Sex with Your Teen
    Come and learn about how to talk about sex with your teen. Parents will be able to discuss common concerns such as how to start the conversation with your teen, when to have the conversation and resources to start the conversation. Most importantly, learn why it’s important to have “The Talk”. All parents will have the opportunity to take part in an open discussion or submit questions anonymously.

    TEEN Anxiety: How to Recognize, Communicate and Help Your Teen

    Adolescence is a stressful time filled with academic, community and social pressures. Stress tops the list of concerns of most teenagers in this day and age. Teens that have parental support during stressful times are more likely to successfully navigate daily struggles. This training will review the symptoms of anxiety and how to address anxiety with your teen.Help learn how to recognize anxiety, communicate with your teen about their symptoms, gain a better understanding on how to support your child and ensure you don’t perpetuate anxious feelings to make worse.

    Parenting in the Digital Age
    Come and learn about the latest technology websites and devices that kids and adolescents are using. Parents will be able to discuss common concerns such as safe use of social media, texting and driving, and inappropriate use of photos. Most importantly, learn how to have an honest conversation with your teen about appropriate online behavior. All parents will have the opportunity to take part in an open discussion or submit questions anonymously. You may not even know what you don’t know!

    “There’s An App for That”
    Summer is around the corner and children will have a lot more free time on their hands. Nowadays, free time can equate to long periods of technology time. Learn about today’s newest apps and the way in which it’s changing the social media world for teens. Learn how to develop a toolkit for you and for your teen for responsible sharing of information. Parents will have an opportunity to take part in an open discussion.
    Navigating Meaningful Dialogue with your Teen
    In this age of emails, texting, and social media, parents are looking for ways to have meaningful dialogue with their teenagers. Adolescence can be a difficult time for both teens and their parents, however it is a time when communicating is extremely important.  While teens are off of their routine during the summer months with employment or just spending more time away from home, the need for communication is critical. Parents are invited to listen to a panel of professionals and community members engage in conversation about keeping a healthy relationship with children during the teen years. There will be an opportunity for questions and answers.

    Relationships and the Adolescent Age   
    Dating trends have changed with the onset of social media and technology, however adolescents are still dating and parents still prefer to know their teens are safe and that appropriate dating behaviors are being used. Come and join us for a discussion with other parents and a panel of experienced professionals to address appropriate dating behaviors and learn how to navigate the dating conversation with your child.

    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


    Preparing to Launch!

    When your children turn 18, they become legal adults and can enter into many types of contracts without the permission of parents or guardians. Young adults are vulnerable to scams that take advantage of their inexperience. Does your teen know what to do? Parents and Teens are invited to join an investigator from The Howard County Office of Howard County Consumer Protection to learn about:

  • How to avoid becoming the victim of scams and identity theft
  • How and when to use credit and debit cards
  • Contracts and their consequences
  • Making smart decisions when buying goods and services
  • Warranties, retail store refund and return policies, and more…
  • Family

    Prepare to Care: Family Shared Aging Options

    For adults in the sandwich generation, balancing both responsibilities of your children as well as your aging parents is difficult. This workshop is designed to help you learn about services and programs available for aging family members. You’ll discover:

    • How to Start the Conversation 
    • Ways to Assess Needs
    • Services to Assist with Aging in Place
    • How to Design a Plan for Assisted Living & Nursing Facility Options

    How to be a GREAT Grandparent

    A lot has changed in parenting since grandparents were parents! Learn the latest research based information to balance your tried and true skills with current best practices. Discuss your role as a grandparent verses being the parent. Discover ways to safeguard your home for infants and toddlers and gather important resources to help support your children in their new role as parents.