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parenting classes

Placer County

KidsFirst-Counseling & Family Resource Center

Incredible Years, Active Parenting Now, Forever Fathers, Cooperative Parenting & Divorce Classes

Roseville / Auburn


Lighthouse Counseling & Family Resource Center

Love & Logic Parenting, Cooperative Parenting & Divorce Classes



sacramento County

Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services

Free classes on nurturing parenting, budgeting, health, nutrition, stress management, and more.



Love & Logic Parenting

Early Childhood Parenting Made Fun!, Becoming a Love & Logic Parent, 9 Essential Skills for the Love & Logic Classroom

Sacramento, Roseville


Family Resource Centers

Free parenting courses through First 5 Sacramento

Sacramento, North Highlands, Rancho Cordova



Parenting books

Danny Silk (2009)

Most parenting approaches train children to learn to accept being controlled by well-meaning parents and adults. This book will teach parents to train their children to manage their freedoms and protect their important heart to heart relationships. Loving Our Kids on Purpose brings the principles of the Kingdom of God and revival into our strategy as parents.

Tedd Tripp (2011)

Shepherding a Child's Heart is about how to speak to the heart of your child. Your child’s words and actions flow from their heart. Written for parents with children of any age, this insightful book provides perspectives and procedures for shepherding your child's heart into the paths of life.

Daniel Siegel, Tina Payne Bryson (2011)

The authors explain—and make accessible—the new science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures. By applying these discoveries to everyday parenting, you can turn any outburst, argument, or fear into a chance to integrate your child’s brain and foster vital growth.

James Dobson (2014)

Is a willful little darling driving you to distraction? The New Strong-Willed Child is the resource you need—a classic bestseller completely rewritten, updated, and expanded for a new generation of parents and teachers. Challenging as they are to raise, strong-willed children can grow up to be men and women of strong character—if lovingly guided with understanding and the right kind of discipline.

Milan & Kay Yerkovich (2011)

How We Love Our Kids offers a unique approach, to help you as a parent transform your kids by making specific changes in how you love. Identify which of the five love styles of parenting you have, get rid of your “buttons” so your kids can’t push them, create a close connection with your kids, and learn the seven gifts every child needs.

Mary Ruth Swope (2009)

In this practical and inspiring book, well-known nutritionist, teacher, speaker, and author Mary Ruth Swope provides detailed instructions on how to minister powerful blessings from God to our children, grandchildren, and other loved ones. 

Damsel in Defense

Coupled with the Proactive Parent Guide, the SAFE Hearts series of storybooks and educational materials will give you the opportunity to have the essential kid-versations with your children that count before they are counted among the statistics.

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Gary Chapman, Ross Campbell (2016)

Discover how to speak your child’s love language in a way that he or she understands, assist your child in successful learning, use your child’s love language to correct and discipline more effectively and build a foundation of unconditional love.

Dr. Emerson Eggerichs (2013)

Children need love, parents need respect. An unloved child (or teen) negatively reacts in a way that feels disrespectful to a parent. A disrespected parent negatively reacts in a way that feels unloving to the child.  This dynamic gives birth to the FAMILY CRAZY CYCLE. This book walks readers through an entirely new way to approach the family dynamic.

Henry Cloud, John Townsend (2009)

Keys for establishing healthy boundaries--the bedrock of good relationships, maturity, safety, and growth for children and adults. To help their children grow into healthy adults, parents need to teach them how to take responsibility for their behavior, their values, and their lives.

Kim John Payne, Lisa M. Ross (2009)

Today’s busier, faster society is waging an undeclared war on childhood. Simplicity Parenting helps parents streamline your home environment, establish healthy routines, and scale back on media to prevent sensory overload for your kids.

Thomas Fitch, David Davis (2013)

Focus on the Family has created this great resource to help parents provide honest answers about sex for kids of every age. This is a comprehensive guide for talking about sex and sexuality with your children. 

Andy Crouch (2017)

Making conscientious choices about technology in our families is more than just using internet filters and determining screen time limits for our children. It's about developing wisdom, character, and courage in the way we use digital media.

Victoria L. Dunckley MD (2015)

Increasing numbers of parents grapple with children who are acting out without obvious reason. This book provides hope for parents who feel that their child has been misdiagnosed or inappropriately medicated, by presenting an alternative explanation for their child’s difficulties and a concrete plan for treating them.

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Online Resources

Online Parenting Resources

Effective parenting tools including the Loving on Purpose Blog, podcasts, free online resources, and the Parenting Track of the Life Academy.

A thorough guide to so many of the issues facing parents today using videos, blogs, podcasts, and articles. Search by your child’s age group or by issues such as parenting roles, your child’s emotions, kids and technology, effective biblical discipline and more.

Practical, invaluable, and uplifting parenting tools from Charles Swindoll including books, audio lessons and DVDs.

Find Love and Logic educators, classes, and conferences. Love and Logic printed materials, books, and articles. Take Love and Logic online.

Positive parenting programs and workshops for everyday parents. In-person and online classes. Take a quiz to determine your parenting style.

Everyday University is on a mission to develop millions of financially savvy young adults who are good stewards of their money, time, gifts, talents and give back to their community.

Parenting tips on how to talk with your kids, fun and simple ideas to enhance your child's learning, advice to shape your kids TV habits, different options for fun and games, healthy advice on food/fitness, and more.

Tons of resources that help kids (and parents!) with what matters most in young lives: health and wellness, social-emotional skills, and school readiness. All are critical to children’s healthy development…and together they build the foundation for a happy, healthy life.

This guide at provides parents with valuable advice for talking to children about alcohol and other drugs. Topics include facts about teen drug use, psychological disorders that often accompany addiction, tips to spot the signs and symptoms of substance use and hotlines for immediate assistance.

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Preparing for a New Baby

Preparing for a New Baby

There are many dangers inside your home that you may not even know about  when preparing for a new baby. Here is a great article published on Angie's List with clear steps on making your home a safe place for your new addition. 

Mom Junction provides information and advice on myriad issues like Pregnancy, New Parents, Baby Names, Breastfeeding, Parenting, and Relationships. Click here to read a great article on what things to avoid eating while you are breastfeeding.

Every parent is different. Some parents wait a year or more before they leave their child in the care of someone else for the first time. For others, it’s only a few months before they are ready for an afternoon alone or an evening with their spouse. Click the logo to read a great article on what to look for in a babysitter and also use the Local Babysitter search engine to find sitters near you.

The toddler years are full of exploring and discovery. The best thing you can do is offer your toddler a variety of foods from each food group with different tastes, textures, and colors. Click the image to read a great article on food options from the Cleveland Clinic.

Sleep is so important for healthy child development and for parents' sanity. Check out this article by Raising Children that offers simple advice on how to set up a successful nightly routine and manage kids calling out or getting out of bed. Start getting better sleep now.

Playgrounds are a terrific place for kids to get some exercise, have fun, and make new friends. But alarmingly, they can also be a breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria – some of which may have the potential to make your child sick. This article, published by Home Advisor, has some eye-opening information about the germs present in our homes as well as the normal places kids go to play.

While playgrounds are an excellent source of fun, they can also be a leading source of injuries. By following these simple safety precautions, you can lower your child's risk of experiencing an injury at the playground.

Many parents are lucky enough to face the challenge of raising more than one child: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost 80 percent of children grow up with at least one sibling. How your child learns to get along with a brother or sister at home will set the pattern for how he'll get along with others. Check out this article on Modern Parenting for ideas on creating successful connections between new siblings.

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Local Fun/Activities for kids

Local Fun

Sacramento 4 Kids is a FREE online resource guide for families with kids in the Greater Sacramento area. You can find Events, Things To Do, Schools & Kids Activities, Arts, Music, Birthday Parties, Summer Camps, Child Care, Classes, Deals & Discounts, Field Trips, Health Providers, Kids Eat Free venues, Places To Go, Sports, and resources for Special Needs children.

Hulafrog connects parents to local events and businesses in their community as well as to each other. Spend less time looking for things to do and more time doing them, all while connecting with others in your community.

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Traditions are the little things that families do on a regular basis that create a unique culture in each household promoting a sense of belonging and well-being for kids. These rituals, which can range from small gestures to large celebrations, give kids things to look forward to, establish enjoyable rhythms and become the foundation of lasting family memories.  

The following ideas are just a sampling of things you could do to connect as a family but be careful to avoid over-cluttering your life. Consider picking 1-2 things in each category to try with your kids and make sure they fit your family's culture!  Since connection is always the goal, the number one ground rule for most of these suggested activities will likely be to have ALL family members put away their phones/tablets and focus on each other.

Pilgrim Bearing Gifts

Daily Connection Traditions:

  • Family Meals It doesn't matter if it's breakfast or dinner, find a time where the whole family can sit around the same table and talk about their day. Make sure everyone gets a turn to share.

  • Highs & Lows This is a great way to learn more about your kids since asking them how their day was often gets a quick "fine" in response. Instead, ask each family member to share his or her "high" and "low"  moment of the day. This will give you more insight into the things your child is experiencing and will help them learn more about you, too!

  • Bedtime Story/ReadingKids of any age LOVE a good story  before bed so pick out an age-appropriate book (or better yet a series of books) and snuggle up to make memories!

  • Family Hugs - Fill up your physical touch "love tank" by going around to give everyone in the family hugs before school or before bed...or make it a whole family group hug!!!

  • Lunch Box Notes - Make your kids feel extra special by tucking a little note of encouragement in their lunches along with a special treat (and maybe one to share with a new friend). To make them laugh, try  putting the note inside their sandwich. If you know they have a test or presentation that day, make sure they know you're cheering for them!

  • Evening Walks - Not only can walking help solve problems, but it can also strengthen families. Evening walks are a great time to get some fresh air and digest the day’s events along with your dinner.*


Weekly Connection Traditions:

  • Family Movie Night - Let your kids take turns picking a movie each week then grab your favorite drinks and popcorn, find a couch and pile on. Or how about a picnic dinner while watching movies or favorite shows. Spread a big quilt or blanket on the floor and eat your dinner "family style".

  • Family Game Night What can be better than some pizza, a stack of fun games to play and the full attention of your kids. No cell phones, please! 

  • Weekend ChoresYes, I did say chores...but if you play your cards right you might end up entertaining your kids in addition to getting your house cleaned. To make chores seem more fun, consider having cleaning Olympics with prizes. Or create a chore game with a point system for completing each task. Another option would be to turn cleaning into a connection time with everyone working together cleaning rooms one-by-one.

  • Special Saturday/Sunday Morning Breakfast - Whether you have pancakes, homemade cinnamon rolls or eggs and bacon, this special tradition is a great way to spend some extra family time around the kitchen table. Try making one family member the "special guest" and encourage each of the others to share something they like about that one or something nice they saw that one doing recently. A few days before the "special breakfast" announce who the "guest" will be so the others will be focusing on good qualities and the "guest" will be motivated to be more kind and thoughtful. 

  • Family Meetings - Set aside time each week to coordinate schedules and talk about the big things your kids have going on that week. Make sure to schedule rest and FUN during the week! Share things about your life and schedule, too. This can be a way to teach your children to listen, care and help each other in times of need. 


Monthly Connection Traditions:

  • Date Nights - Consider taking your kids out on a "daddy-daughter" or "mother-son" date night once a month. You can set up a rotating schedule so each kid gets their own special time with both mom and dad. Make sure you are also scheduling a monthly date night with your report feeling more secure and happy when they see their parents loving each other.

  • Outdoor Adventures - We all could use more time outside getting exercise and a healthy dose of sunshine Vitamin D. Find a new sport, a fun trail to hike or bike or just go to a local park. Bring a ball or a Frisbee and have some family fun! 

  • Family Service DayIf creating a culture of service is part of your family mission statement, put that goal into action with a monthly Family Service Day. Dedicate one Saturday or Sunday to serving others. It could mean spending a morning at a homeless shelter, cleaning the garden of an elderly neighbor or sorting clothes at Goodwill.*

  • Box of Goals - Learning to set and work towards a goal is an important life skill for children to develop. Let your children help you create a special "Goal Box". On the first day of each month, have your family members write down one goal they want to accomplish that month on a piece of paper and place it in the box. At the beginning of the next month have each one read the goal that he or she set out loud. Celebrate goals accomplished or talk about ways to finish those lacking completion. Be sure to write new goals for the month ahead!*

  • Family Q & A - Want to have a fun connection night? Try one of the many excellent resources which provide thought-provoking, off-the-wall or just plain silly questions to ask your kids. Consider picking up the book "Would You Rather" or one of the TableTopics card decks. Shared laughter is good medicine! 


Milestone Traditions:

  • Family Vacation - Let your children help decide where and what will be involved in family vacations.  Save up for the expensive destinations like Hawaii or Europe but make sure to get out of town somewhere as a family each year. Camping or road trips to visit relatives can be great fun. Instead of letting them retreat into their cell phones or iPads, teach your kids funny songs or games to play together in the car while you travel.

  • Super Bowl Sunday - While football might not be your kids favorite sport, make watching the game a fun family tradition. Involve your kids by creating a big chart where everyone guesses the score, best commercial and the game winner. Have a prize or a rotating trophy for the winner. Top off the fun with family favorite snacks and a game of touch football at half time. 

  • Spring CleaningTeach kids how to be generous by having them go through their clothes, games, and toys each year, donating anything they don't wear or use regularly. Help them understand that a donation needs to be in good condition by asking if they would appreciate being given something like it. Clean closets and storage cabinets are an added bonus. When the cleaning is done, consider taking the family out for ice cream to celebrate. 

  • Tree Planting - Trees symbolize new beginnings. Consider letting your children help pick out a new tree to plant in your yard for certain milestones in your kids lives (such as starting kindergarten, getting baptized or winning an award). As the tree grows that child will be reminded their progress in life. 

  • Family Time CapsuleBury a family time capsule when you move into what you think will be your “forever home.” Fill the capsule with some of your family’s favorites things, notes, and items that represent the time period. Then open in it up in 20 or 30 years. Make sure you exhume it if you end up moving sooner than you thought you would.*

  • Back to School Shopping - Even when my family didn't have a lot of money to spend, my parents made a tradition of a special trip to the mall to shop for school clothes. In addition to money my sister and I saved from our allowances, we were each given some extra money with which to purchase a few new things to wear. This helped us learn to both save and spend our money wisely and gave us a sense of appreciation for what we had. 

  • First Day of School Chalk Pep TalkThe first day of school is scary for some children. Put a smile on their faces by using chalk to write something silly or encouraging for them to find on the driveway when they walk out in the morning. 


Birthday Traditions:

  • The Birthday Crown - The wearer of this special head piece gets to select what the family eats each meal, can ask for 1 special wish to be granted, and gets out of doing any chores that day.  Feel free to make your own family crown rules but no matter what, the birthday boy or girl will feel special. 

  • Breakfast in BedThis tradition has carried over from my childhood into my adult life! What a wonderful way to wake up on your birthday as your family comes in singing to you and carrying in a tray full of your favorite breakfast foods!

  • The Yearly Door Frame Measurement - Many families have a door frame (or wall chart) where they keep rough pencil lines marking off the height of their kiddos as they age. Make it a tradition to take the measurement on birthdays.*

  • 1/2 Birthdays - What's better than celebrating your birthday each year? Celebrating it twice, of course! Since my sister and I both had winter birthdays my parents decided we would have a single friend over to celebrate our actual birthday but host a big party 6 months later on our 1/2 birthdays during the summer. To this day we all still give each other cards and gifts twice a year! 

  • New Privileges/New Responsibilities Cards Amidst all the fun and hoopla, remind your kid that with age comes greater power and with greater power comes greater responsibility. In addition to birthday presents, present your child with two envelopes. One envelope is labeled, “New Privilege”; the other, “New Responsibility.” Provide an age appropriate privilege and responsibility each year.*


Holiday Traditions:


  • Easter Basket Scavenger Hunt - Instead of setting out the Easter baskets by their bed or in the living room, have your kids do a fun hunt for them. Leave the first clue by their beds, and have them follow one clue to the next until they find their baskets.

    • An important note: adding a scavenger hunt to anything turns it into an awesome, memorable tradition. I’m not sure there’s anything more fun for a kid than a scavenger hunt.*

  • The Golden Egg - While families will often place candy and change or small bills inside those fun, plastic eggs, my family also hid larger Styrofoam eggs that had been spray painted gold and silver. These eggs were hidden in super secret places which made finding them a challenge. However, the golden egg (worth $20 to the lucky child who found it) and the silver egg (worth $10) were a welcome addition to allowance money!

  • Flip the Hunt - After hiding all the Easter eggs for your kids to find (and enjoying watching them run around the yard diving into bushes and climbing trees to find eggs), consider turning the tables and letting your kids hide eggs for you. While you probably utilized all the great outdoor hiding spots, let your kids hide eggs around the house and let them take pictures or video of you running around like a little kid again filling up your own Easter basket.

  • Homemade Holiday Decor - Here's an opportunity to get your creative juices flowing as a family! Design your own Easter wreath or dining room table centerpiece with items found around the house, in the backyard or along your walk to the park. Use mason jars, fresh flowers, palm or tree branches, ribbon and plastic eggs to create unique decor that your kids will be proud of. 

  • Resurrection Eggs - This is a great family tradition with a dozen plastic eggs numbered 1-12 each filled with a small piece of paper that tells the story of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection along with one small object representing that part of the story.  Sit around the table as a family taking turns opening each egg and reading the story inside.

  • Peep Wars - While there is not much nutritional value in these colored marshmallow Easter treats, when you set up a family bracket/chart and send each Peep off into battle, a whole new tradition is begun. To start, put 2 Peeps on a paper plate facing each other, making sure each one knows his or her own Peep color. Then have each player insert a  toothpick sword into his own Peep then arrange it facing the opposing Peep "soldier". Put the plate in the microwave for 30 seconds and watch to see which Peep stabs the other first. This is a single elimination game with new "soldiers" needed each round until a winner is determined. May the best Peep win!


  • Jack-O-Lantern Carving ContestSpice up this popular tradition by creating awards for the scariest pumpkin, the most creative design, or the friendliest face. Then have a pumpkin themed party to celebrate the lighting of the Jack-O-Lanterns by roasting your pumpkin seeds and having a pumpkin themed meal (pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, etc.).

  • Candy Auction - Whether your kids get their candy from a Harvest party, a Trunk-Or-Treat gathering, or Trick-or-Treating door to door, they always seem to come home with more candy than any one child should eat all year. They also end up with some candy they don't like. Back at home, play a trading game where each child auctions off their loot for candy they like better. As a parent, you can play by offering to buy some number of pieces of candy for a quarter-and maybe save your kids from a sugar high! 


  • Get Some Fresh AirThis To get your bodies moving before all the Tryptophan from the turkey sets in, suggest a family walk before the cooking begins, play some touch football during halftime of a game or register for a Turkey Trot 5K to support a good cause.

  • The Thankful Box - While hanging out before dinner, encourage family members to write one or more anonymous notes of things they are grateful for, collecting them into a box.  Later on, during dessert, pass the box around the table, letting each person draw out a note, read it aloud and guess who wrote it. Keep passing the box until it is empty. It is fun to hear others' heartfelt and sometime humorous thank yous. 

  • Bowling - OK, while sharing this tradition openly, I'm secretly hoping not everyone adopts it. At the present time, most bowling lanes are open but resemble a ghost town on Thanksgiving Day. My family loves trying to bowl a "turkey" (3 strikes in a row) between dinner and dessert but if too many people come, the lanes will resemble a famous band concert with standing room only! 


  • Out with the Old, In with the NewTo teach your children the value of living uncluttered lives and of not holding onto their things selfishly, consider a family tradition of getting rid of the same number of old toys and clothes as they receive as gifts. These can be donated or thrown away. Exceptions may need to be made as kids grow older and get fewer, more valuable gifts, but still need to reduce their cumulative possessions. 

  • Advent - A very dear friend of mine has turned the 24 days leading up to Christmas into a fantastic Advent tradition that their neighbors, family and friends now ask to be invited to. Each night after dinner they make mugs of hot cocoa, light their advent candle and read the story of someone in the lineage of Christ before singing "O Come All Ye Faithful" and blowing out the candle. This has become a wonderful time to share the true meaning of Christmas with several of their kids friends who don't go to church.

  • Christmas Carols - There is just something magical about singing together as a family...I guess that's why in the movie Elf they say "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!" So grab a Christmas carol book (or just print lyrics off the internet) and start spreading the cheer in your home, around your neighborhood or even at a retirement home where your voices could make others smile!

  • Christmas Eve Pajamas - After attending a Christmas Eve church service my family gathers around the Christmas tree to open our first gift: a soft, warm set of new PJ's!  It is always fun waking up on Christmas morning in our new outfits!

Written by: Tiffany Loeffler, DTCRA Director

* Indicates the idea was from "60+ Family Tradition Ideas", McKay; 2013


Family Connection Traditions

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