Research: Best Practices for Parents
Minnesota Parents Know has excellent parenting information, resources, and activities to support children as they grow, develop, and learn from birth through high school. It is organized in sections for newborn, ages 1-2, ages 3-5, K-12, and student-parent. Each section offers parenting resources, child development information, academic information, parenting tips, links to other sites, and a powerful search mechanism to find topics of interest. Visit the Minnesota Parents Know website.

The Search Institute is a leader in innovation, research, resources, and best practices on what children and adolescents need to succeed as they develop into mature, responsible adults. Visit the Search Institute website.

Parenting can be wonderful and rewarding, but it can also be difficult and unpleasant. Most parents experience phases of feeling overwhelmed. Much information is available on what should be done do to raise “good” kids.

In reality, there are no guaranteed methods for ensuring we and our children will be happy, healthy, and successful in life. There is strong research which indicates that parents can make a significant, positive difference through a number of simple approaches.

Since the 1950′s, Search Institute researchers have studied the effects of various influences in young people’s lives. They have found that the 40 Developmental Assets correlate with positive outcomes such as doing well in school, serving others, engaging in the community, and forming healthy habits.

Parent Further: A Resource on Parenting from the Search Institute. It is important for adults to help young people develop so they can experience success in life, but parents can rarely do it alone. Parent Further is a resource developed by the Search Institute. Its website is full of great resources such as ages and stages children go through, key disciplines and values, ideas on how to spend quality time together, resources on appropriate use of media and technology, and information on high-risk behaviors. Tips and tools for parents and community are provided, along with suggested activities. Nine specific parenting strategies are outlined to provide parental guidance and direction in the uncertain world of parenting. Visit the Parent Further website.

Partnering for School Success. This research-based resource is from The University of Minnesota Extension Office. The website outlines six key areas of parent best practices that contribute to children’s academic success, including the importance of high expectations, structure, learning, support, relationships and modeling. Learn more on  the U of M website.

Bright Horizons Family Solutions is a leading provider of early education and preschools, employer-sponsored child care, back-up care, educational advisory services and other work/life solutions. In addition to its over 750 centers worldwide, Bright Horizons also has excellent parent resources on its website. Visit the Bright Horizons website.

The curriculum section outlines key things parents can do at various developmental stages to better prepare students for success. Curriculum focusing on language, math, science, art, citizenship and responsibility and wellness is outlined by age and developmental stage, including infant care, toddler, preschool, pre-kindergarten, elementary and Montessori.

Other web resources include active sections of e-family news, a parenting blog, an online community forum, children’s book reviews, parent webinars, and at-home learning activities.  Learning activities and ideas focusing on growing readers, growing scientists, growing learners, and growing givers are included.

Raising Responsible Children is one of the key objectives of most parents. Cornell University has put together a parent guide on raising responsible children. The guide was developed and is used by the New York State Parental Information and Resource Center. The guide is organized around two primary ideas: what responsibility means for children and tips for raising responsible children. Learn more on the NYSPIRC website.

Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) is the largest children’s literacy nonprofit in the United States. Its mission is to motivate young children to read by working with them, their parents, and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life.  RIF’s highest priority is to reach under-served children from birth to age eight.

RIF’s website has much information and many resources related to early childhood literacy. RIF’s blog (Just Unplug) offers daily tips and ideas for parents to use with their children.  Research-based literacy articles for parents and educators such as Literacy Development Begins at Home with a Literacy Environment are found in the site’s article section. Visit the Reading Is Fundamental website.

RIF’s website also offers links to interactive reading resources in three primary categories in both English and Spanish.

Leading to Reading is focused on children ages 0 to 5, and its resources are organized in categories for ages 0-2, 3-5, and for grownups. (0-2 English, 0-2 Spanish, 3-5 English, 3-5 Spanish, Grown-ups English, and Grown-ups Spanish) For ages 0-2, activities are organized in categories of stories, nursery rhymes, lullabies, games, and finger plays. For ages 3-5, activities are organized in categories of read, sing, play, doodle, explore, and meet Riffy and Rita. The adult section includes books, videos, articles and advice.

Reading Planet is for children ages 6 through 15. The Reading Planet’s resources are organized around four primary areas of Book Zone, Game Station, Activity Lab, and Express Yourself. Each section offers age-appropriate resources and activities. Most of the resources are in English; some resources are in Spanish.