Research-based ideas for parents to connect and support your kids' development

Connection Tools

Tuning in and connecting emotionally with your child is the fundamental practice of parenting. Children need to feel connected to a caring adult to feel safe and be able to think, learn, and take risks to explore the world. Regular connection is also how they develop a deep sense that they are lovable.

Listening

Genuine connection with our kids starts with listening to them. Listening lets them know they matter and usually helps empathize with their point of view.

Empathy & Validation

All humans need empathy and validation. We need to be seen, understood, and accepted.

Keep Your Cool

The technical term for this is “parental self-regulation.” Practice the ability to stay above the storm as your child releases emotions, even when they seem like personal attacks.

Special Time

Give your child the gift of a dedicated time with you, daily or whenever possible, where they call the shots.

Get Physical

Kids feel and communicate with their bodies! Help them shake off tension, feel good and connect with active play and rough-housing.

No Punishment

There are more effective ways to shape behavior than punishment, which has been shown to lead to poorer outcomes.

"Feel it to heal it"

Emoting is the body's natural way to process and release our life experiences.

Playfulness

As grownups, we tend to think that to be effective, things have to be serious. But with children, the opposite is often true.

Parent Self-care

Getting your own needs met is essential to meeting the ever evolving needs of your children.

Non-verbal Connection

Connecting deeply with your child on a non-verbal level is a great way to counteract stress – for both of you.

Empowerment Tools

Children gain confidence and self-esteem by overcoming challenges. Fostering growth means empowering them with the right level of structure, challenge, and autonomy for each situation. Over time this leads to internal motivation and self-regulation.

Setting Limits

Limits are one of the most essential and misunderstood parts of parenting. Limits are good for kids and build emotional intelligence, if you set them with love and compassion.

Routines

Routines help us feel safe and in control. They reduce the mental load of regular tasks, and keep everything from being a negotiation with our kids.

Storytelling

Humans make meaning through telling stories, and you can help your kids craft constructive narratives.

Support Autonomy

People, even little ones, have an innate desire to feel control over them selves and their environments. At every age, there are appropriate things over which you can give them control.

Growth Mindset

“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point." - Carol Dweck

High Expectations

The combination of a warm, attuned emotional relationship with high expectations based on your values is a magic combination for youth achievement.

Celebrate Wins

Our focus is a powerful tool. Not only does what we focus on become our experience, it also creates more of that thing. So it's worth focusing on the good things!

Creative Making

Creative making is a gateway to many positive emotions, including flow, authorship, and connection to something bigger.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness has many proven benefits for children (and all people). Here are some ways to help your child slow down and practice focusing on the present moment.

Gratitude

Gratitude has been proven to make people healthier and happier... and even live longer.

Cognitive Reframes

In calm moments when your child's whole brain is working together, it is often helpful to revisit troubling issues, to questions assumptions, reframe thought patterns, and problem-solve.

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