In honor of Mother's Day, Nicole shares how she became a fierce advocate for quality interactions between parents and children -- including those in her own family! As Nicole says, "It is tempting in our daily chaos of life to say, 'No honey, I am too busy to play right now' and continue checking things off our long lists of things to do. . . . The actual physical interactions with our children can be so few and far between." Read more below . . .
I have to admit that the Keys to Interactive Parenting Scale (KIPS) has become a bit of a passion of mine. As an Early Childhood Professional and a mother of two young boys, I have become a fierce advocate for quality interactions between parents and children. As a KIPS coder, I find it easy to empathize with parents as I assess parenting. We all want our children to do their best, especially when they are on camera! Once the camera turns on, it is natural to want our children to be on their best behavior or to share all of the brilliant things they can do during the 20 minutes of the assessment.
One of the beauties of KIPS is that for once we have an assessment where the scores are not based on how well the child performs…but they are based on the parent. Focusing on parent behavior is important, because it is through parenting that we can best impact our children. It is tempting in our daily chaos of life to say, “No honey, I am too busy to play right now” and continue checking things off our long lists of things to do. Between folding laundry, grocery shopping, cooking dinner, and picking up Legos up off the floor, the actual physical interactions with our children can be so few and far between. We owe it to our children to at least make these interactions high quality; because quality matters to children.
KIPS has helped me become more involved in playing with my own children. For me, this means putting down my cell phone, sitting on the floor, and being present and attentive to our 4-year-old son. It has also encouraged my husband to let go and follow our son’s lead.
Assessing Parenting has helped me acknowledge the different emotions my children are expressing, and to support them in learning to manage and appropriately express their emotions.
KIPS has helped me better support my boys in thinking for themselves. I have noticed a sense of pride and confidence in my oldest son because he is allowed to try things on his own, fail, and try again with the minimum of support and guidance. Before assessing parenting I tended to overshadow him, tending toward being too directive.
KIPS has helped me be more reflective. There are definitely moments in my day when I think, “Wow, that would have been a 1 on the KIPS scale!” We all have those moments as parents. As parenting assessment coders, we have a responsibility to be honest in our scores, using the anchors as our guide, even when we can relate to an interaction that might not have been so positive. It is tempting to think, “I would have done the same thing” and go easy on the caregiver’s score. But scoring is done by the scale provided and not by our gut instinct. The feedback section on the parenting assessment’s summary sheet is a great place to accentuate the positive while building the parent’s confidence. Just as we expect caregivers to encourage and praise their children, we must provide that same support for parents.
Assessing parenting proves useful in helping parents become more nurturing to support their children’s growth, but unexpectedly, it helps the coder too!
Welcome New KIPSters!
Johns Hopkins University- Hawaii Research, HI
Annunciation Home, TX
Octillo Learning Center - Parents as Teachers, Sunnyside Unified School District, AZ
People Inc., CHIP Program, VA
Children’s Health Council, Palo Alto, CA
Child Health Investment Partnership of Roanoke, VA
Birth to Three, Barron County Health and Human Services, WI
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