Child Development and Parenting

Early Childhood Parenting Skills Classes

Classes for parents and caregivers of children ages 0 to 5 with behavior challenges

Class Description

In the Early Childhood Parenting Skills Classes, experts from the Early Childhood Clinic will provide practical recommendations to promote child development and manage common behavior problems. There will be four classes in this series, which are described below:

  • Child-directed play (CDP) is a special form of one-to-one play between you and your child in which your child directs and leads. CDP is useful for all young children and is especially helpful for those with behavior challenges. Research shows that playing with your child in this way can:

    • Build a sense of self-direction and self-confidence in your child
    • Foster child language and social development
    • Allow your child to receive focused attention from you without having to misbehave to get it
    • Strengthen your parent-child bond
    • Help you practice parenting skills

    Attend this class to learn more about what CDP is, best practices for conducting CDP and tips to put these newly learned skills into practice.

  • Establishing and maintaining a regular bedtime routine is important for all ages. In early childhood, good “sleep hygiene” can help to reduce daytime behavior problems and establish healthy sleep habits as children mature.

    This class will cover recommendations for establishing a regular sleep routine, addressing common behavior problems related to sleep and using sleep logs to track potential problems.

  • Dialogic reading refers to strategies that parents can use to promote child language by reading and looking at books with their child. Studies show that dialogic reading promotes child language development and enjoyment of reading.

    This class will introduce dialogic reading, tips for making shared reading a part of your regular routine, strategies to make shared reading more engaging and using reading to promote child language development.

  • Children’s behavior is often different depending on the situation, location and time. Functional assessment is a tool you can use to better understand variability in your child’s behavior. This is useful in both increasing positive behaviors and reducing behavior problems. Functional assessment is often the first step in programs for early childhood behavior problems.

    In this class, we will discuss the basics of functional assessment, helpful tips for tracking child behavior problems and positive behaviors and using functional assessment to help you know what actions to take to support your child.

Note: We are only offering our Child-Directed Play class at this time, but will add the others to the schedule as they become available.

Date, Time and Location

Fourth Thursday of each month
6 to 7 p.m. (Pacific time)


These classes are free.

2022 Schedule

  • May 26: Early Childhood Parenting Skills Class: Child-Directed Play
  • June 23: Early Childhood Parenting Skills Class: Child-Directed Play
  • October 27: Early Childhood Parenting Skills Class: Child-Directed Play

Register Now

Class Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

  • No, this class is intended for parents and caregivers only.

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  • No, child-directed play is part of many treatments for young children. This would not take the place of behavioral treatments.

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  • Yes, we will include time for questions.

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  • No. We hope that the class will be helpful for families waiting for other services, but this would not affect the wait time or types of services that your child can receive.

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Learn more about our Early Childhood Clinic or how to get our services.