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KIPS TIPS May 2013

Hi ,

The Voice From the Field in this KIPS TIPS comes from Nicole Buchholz, a proud mother and an experienced KIPS coder at the Interdisciplinary Center for Program Evaluation. She is on the evaluation team for the Sixpence home visiting program.

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 . . .

Read previous newsletters in the KIPS TIPS Archives.

See all weekly posts and subscribe to the KIPS Cradle blog.

Happy Mothers Day to you and your families!


 Assessing Parenting Helped Me

Improve My Own Parenting

Nicole Buchholz, M.E.

Early Childhood Program Evaluator

University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC)

Munroe-Meyer Institute


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.

assessing_parenting_strengthsOne 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


Special Offer Through June 2013

for Parents as Teachers Foundational Curriculum Users!

Order 5 Online KIPS Trainings and Get One Free

Join Hundreds of Parents as Teachers Programs Using The Keys to Interactive Parenting Scale (KIPS) to Unlock:

• Parents as Teachers Toolkit of parenting behaviors

• Insights into successful parent-child interaction

• Evidence of outcomes to delight your funders

Register for the  Parents as Teachers Special Offer




Let us know how KIPS fits your program, staff and families!

Marilee Comfort & Phil Gordon

The KIPS People - Comfort Consults

POB 82, Cheyney, PA




Read Recent KIPS Cradle Blogs:

The Power of Play in Assessing Parenting

Assessing Parenting in Families Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder

Assessing Healthy Families America’s Parenting Outcomes

UK Proposes Universal Assessment of Parenting. Is It a Good Idea?

Does Playing Outdoors Improve Parent-Child Interaction?

Logic Model + Parenting Assessment = Program Funding

Lure Program Funding by Assessing Parenting

Parenting Assessment Guides PAT Program Improvement at MyChild’sRead 

Read more blogs and Subscribe to the KIPS Cradle        



Where Can I Find KIPS Online Training and Supports?

KIPS online training and support systems use three separate web addresses. It's a good idea to bookmark each in your browser, so you can get to them when you need them.

Here are the links:

KIPS eLearning:

KIPS Annual Check Up:

KIPS Library:

Forgot your password? On each login page click on HELP! I forgot my password. Type in your username (usually your email address), and the program automatically sends you an email with your username and password.

Order KIPS training and library subscriptions at



Thanks for sharing KIPS TIPS with others!