Parenting Resource – Emotional Literacy

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the Oregon Parenting Educators Conference at Oregon State University.  Throughout this event, experts from across the state presented on a range of topics that facilitators encounter as they work with and support families.  One workshop that I found to be especially insightful focused on emotional literacy and how we can assist parents in making it a part of everyday parenting.  Dr. Ann Corwin, a noted expert in parenting and child development education, shared with us how feelings drive the behaviors that parents see in their children – and how those emotions can be identified, understood, and managed in healthy and productive ways.  We call this emotional literacy.

The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning defines emotional literacy as “the ability to identify, understand, and respond to emotions in oneself and others in a healthy manner.”  Research has shown that children who have a solid foundation in emotional literacy tolerate frustration better, engage in less destructive behaviors, are less impulsive, and have greater academic achievement.  The ability to label emotions is a developmental skill that is not present at birth—it must be learned.  This is where parents come!

Below, you will find two resources that can assist parents in helping children to identify, understand, and manage their feelings in healthy ways:

Article Link: “Teaching Your Child to Identify and Express Emotions”

This article provides parents with detailed information on how they can help their children to identify and manage emotions, including step-by-step guidelines, fun activities, and a list of common “feeling” words that can be taught, modeled, and reinforced.

Article Link: “Books About Feelings for Babies and Toddlers”

Books can be powerful tools to help young children make sense of their feelings.  To help parents and caregivers support children as they deal with challenging feelings and experiences, the National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families created a list of books on a variety of topics, including anger, self-control, and friendship!  This is definitely a list you’ll want to keep handy!


Parenting Resource – “Just In Time Parenting” Newsletters

During the early childhood years, we experience many joys (and frustrations!) as parents.  Children undergo rapid changes in their behaviors, skills, and feelings – and those developmental milestones can sometimes leave us in a state of wonder and awe.  We want so much to be able to understand and support our children every step of the way, but there are certainly moments when we are left wondering, “What more can I do!?”

One way to better understand your child is to know more about child development.  With advances in brain science, we are learning more about how a child develops and the importance of good early experiences.  The more you know, the more you can help your child, so here is a resource to get you started:

Check out this fabulous newsletter called “Just In Time Parenting” – an Extension publication that is compiled and distributed by educators and researchers from land-grant universities across the country.

Each newsletter features:

  • Information on how your child is developing
  • Tips on raising a healthy, happy child
  • Tools for solving common parenting problems
  • Strategies for coping with the challenges of raising children

This resource is age-specific, so you can select the one that best meets your parenting needs!  Follow the link below to discover this great resource!  Oh, and be sure to subscribe on the webpage, so you can receive the most current newsletters by email!  Happy reading!

“Just In Time Parenting” – An Extension Newsletter:

Parenting Resource – The Value of Play

One of the topics we discuss often in our parenting classes is play – and for good reason.  While play is important to a child’s social, emotional, and physical development, it also helps to strengthen the parent-child bond and improve family interactions.  Research tells us that, when parents play with their children during the early childhood years, they learn how to interact positively with them, and thus become more supportive, cooperative, and have better communication.  The result of these early interactions is that parents are then able to use what they have learned in play to support their children more effectively as they transition from home to school.  This includes helping with homework, problem solving, and behavior management.

Now, not all play is the same.  There are many different ways to play, and each provides its own unique benefits.  Want to learn how you can take your play time to the next level?  Check out this wonderful article from Montana State University’s Extension Service.  It provides a detailed explanation of how play benefits children and parents, highlights various types of play, and even gives parents the chance to analyze how they play with their children.

Be sure to check out their Family and Human Development homepage as well!  It features resource guides on a range of topics from building family strengths to bullying and children.  They are definitely worth a look!

Article Link – The Importance of Play in Early Childhood Development

Homepage Link – Family and Human Development

(Grand)Parenting Resource – Raising Children with Special Needs

Last night, a resource was shared with me that I knew had to be posted on this blog!  It is full of information, so I’ll keep my commentary short.

This resource, entitled “Grand Resources:  A Grandparent’s and Other Relative’s Guide to Raising Children with Disabilities” is an absolute gem.  A quick peek at the first few pages and you’ll see that it covers a range of topics from understanding and obtaining special education services and benefits to procuring financial, food, and health care assistance.  The question-and-answer format makes it particularly engaging and relevant, and the featured stories provide authentic glimpses into how real “grandfamilies” have overcome obstacles to support their children.

This is a must-read for grandparents and other relatives, who want honest and practical information on resources that are available in their community.

“Grand Resources:  A Grandparent’s and Other Relative’s Guide to Raising Children with Disabilities” Resource Link:

Parenting Resource – Fostering Creativity

“Think left and think right and think low and think high.  Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”  – Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!

One of the things I love about Dr. Seuss is that he consistently encourages children to express themselves and be creative.  Through his zany illustrations and quirky stories, he draws young readers into a world where trees talk, eggs are green, and cats wear hats.  Dr. Seuss saw writing as his creative outlet, his canvas upon which to showcase his ideas and thoughts.  And, while some may have called his ideas outlandish or crazy, he stayed true to his vision and wrote books that subsequently touched the lives of millions.

Like Dr. Seuss, it is our job as parents to also inspire creativity and self-expression in our children.  Research tells us that there are few things more fulfilling for a child than to be able to express ideas freely and delight in the process of creation and exploration.  Through creative activities, children are able to express and cope with feelings, try out new ideas, and problem solve.  They are also able to celebrate their uniqueness and “own” the activities in which they are engaged.  The mental and emotional benefits of creative expression are numerous, and during the years of childhood, they are perhaps even more magnified.

That said, parents are in a prime position to foster self-expression at home by providing opportunities for creative exploration.  Curious to know how?

Check out this link from PBS!  It is a segment of their “Whole Child” series, which focuses on child development, parenting education, and  the like.  This particular webpage provides simple, yet specific information on ways parents can inspire creative thinking at home.  It also offers insight into the specifics of why creative activities are so important to child development.

Take a look – and be sure to browse the other links as well!  Enjoy!

“Fostering Creativity” Link via

C is for Cooking – and Cookies!


When I graduated from college, my first job out of school was teaching nutrition to children and families in Washington County.  From that experience, I learned so much about the value of cooking with kids!  Not only does it support a stronger bond between parents and their children, but it also strengthens communication between family members and introduces young chefs to important math and science skills.

With the cold weather upon us, now is the perfect time to cozy up in the kitchen with your little ones and cook up something fabulous.  Not sure what time make?  Don’t worry – I have you covered!

As a child, I loved cooking and baking with my mom.  One of our favorite things to make was (and still is!) cookies, so today I’m sharing a slightly healthier version of a classic that I’ve grown to love.  Make a batch for yourself and let me know how they turn out!  Bon appétit!

Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1 cup rolled oats (old-fashioned or quick)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 chocolate chips


Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Combine the oats, flours, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, egg, vanilla, and brown sugar until smooth.  Stir in the oat mixture and chocolate chips until thoroughly combined.

Working 1 heaping tablespoon at a time, roll the dough into balls and lay them on the prepared baking sheet.  Space about 2 1/2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the edges are set and beginning to brown but the centers are still puffy and underdone, 9-12 minutes.  Rotate the baking sheet halfway through baking.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to wire rack and cool completely.  Cookies can be stored in airtight containers for up to 2 days.  Makes about 18 cookies.

Parenting Resource – Reading at Home

It is often said that parents are a child’s first teacher – and it’s true!  Parents are in the ideal position to start supporting positive habits and skills in their children, and that includes introducing them to the act of reading.  Reading to children during the early years of childhood has shown to be beneficial because it not only helps them to build essential language and social skills, but it also enhances the parent-child relationship and supports positive communication within the family.

Curious to know how you can introduce reading to your child?  Have you already started, but feel a little stuck?

Here are two great resources to help jump-start your reading routine!

Reading Tips Sheets:

These sheets are housed on the bilingual “Colorin’ Colorado” website, which provides numerous articles, links, and resources for helping children to read and succeed in school and beyond!

Recommended Books:

Sometimes, it takes just one great book to ignite a child’s passion for reading.  This wonderful resource, compiled by the “Reading Rockets” website, features dozens of book lists that tap into a range of interest areas.  Be sure to take a look – you may just find your child’s new favorite book!

Happy Reading!