Q: I am the parent of two children ages 1 and 4 years old. While I feel fairly confident in my parenting ability, there are days when my children are quite challenging (i.e. not listening, fighting with each other, etc.), which leaves me feeling frustrated and drained. Are there any parenting resources or parenting classes offered in Racine County that could be helpful to me?

A: Thank you for your question. As a parent myself, I can empathize with those challenging days. I feel that I am constantly learning how to parent my child at each new age and through each new phase. It seems that I can never have enough tools in my parenting tool belt. Parents need support, too, and looking for community resources on parenting is a good first step.

Racine County is fortunate to have organizations that provide parenting education and resources for parents, foster parents, grandparents and caregivers of young children. As a start, I will share some parenting resources and workshops that are offered through UW-Extension.

Have you heard about the Positive Solutions workshops? The Positive Solutions workshop series are geared toward parents (or caregivers) with young children under age 6. The workshops help parents learn new ways to manage challenging behaviors while also building positive relationships with their children.

Social-emotional development of children is also a focus of the workshops, which includes important social skills such as understanding feelings, perspective and empathy that help children to develop friendships and prepare them for kindergarten. The workshop series includes six workshops that address a different topic each week. It is important to attend all six workshops as the topics build on one another.

Here is a sneak peek of some of the topics discussed in the workshops:

The Power of Positive Reinforcement — Parents learn how positive reinforcement can help manage children’s behaviors and how to “catch your child being good.” When parents are looking for the good behaviors and actions of the child, they are also “filling their child’s bucket.” Filling a child’s bucket can help lead to more positive behaviors and can also build a positive relationship with the child that lasts throughout his/her lifetime.

Become a “Behavior Detective” — Parents learn how to be a behavior detective. This means that a child’s behavior often has meaning behind it. By understanding the meaning of a behavior, parents can change the situation that causes that behavior or even prevent the behavior from occurring in the future. For example, a child’s behavior may deteriorate more quickly when they are hungry or tired (the child may be more irritable, whiny or easily frustrated) and may have more trouble calming down.

Racine County UW-Extension is partnering with Racine Unified School District’s 4K and Early Childhood Education Program to offer the Positive Solutions workshop series during the 2017-18 school year. The next workshop series will begin in January 2018. For more information, visit http://racine.uwex.edu" target="_blank">http://racine.uwex.edu.

Finally, there are a few more parenting resources to share. The Racine County Family Resource Directory is an 80-page directory full of local resources for families with children younger than 18. The Quick List is an abbreviated pamphlet of the full directory. Both can be viewed at the Racine County UW-Extension web site at https://racine.uwex.edu.

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UW-Extension also offers well-researched, quality information about families and relationships online at https://parenting.uwex.edu. This includes:

Just in Time Parenting — A free newsletter for parents and caregivers of children birth to age 5. The eight-page newsletter is emailed each month for the first year and bimonthly for years one through five. Topics include child development, health, safety, nutrition and more. The newsletter is available in English and Spanish.

Parenting the Preschooler — Short fact sheets on topics relevant to parents raising 3- to 5-year-old children.

Looking for more information?

UW-Extension partners with local organizations to conduct workshops for parents and early care and education professionals. For more information, visit http://racine.uwex.edu or call 262-767-2929 or email uwextension@racinecounty.com

Sarah Hawks is family and community educator with Racine County UW-Extension.

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