Activities & Play
Kids love to play – and for good reason! Every time a child picks up a toy, plays pretend, or moves their body, they are learning more about themselves and the world around them. During play, they build brains and important life skills such as resiliency, creativity, confidence, and problem solving.
There are two forms of play: structured and unstructured. structured play is where a child follows directions guided by an adult, such as doing a puzzle or playing sports. Unstructured play is where children play however they want – on a jungle gym, playing make-believe, or simply running around outside. Kids should get a blend of structured and unstructured play everyday. As your child grows, so too does their stage of play. From infancy through kindergarten, your child will move through six stages of play that grows to involve objects and other people over time. Learn more about the how and why of play with these resources.
Find Austin resources for activities and play on ConnectATX.
Bright by Text
Bright by Text is there for families when you need them most. They share helpful tips, activities, and events based on your child’s age and your location.
Colorin Colorado: Learning To Read
There are lots of ways that you can help your children learn to read! This section is filled with tips for what you can do at home, fun activities, suggestions for choosing books to share together, and ideas on how you can prepare your child for a lifetime and love of reading.
Family Do512 Events
Do512 Family helps you stay in-the-know about all of the great opportunities for family fun in the Austin area! You’ll find them writing about special family-friendly events, Austin traditions, favorite places, parks, pools, playgrounds, daytrips, restaurants, camps, classes, and so much more.
Free Fun in Austin
Austin.com is a local media network that provides content on local happenings in Austin to make it a more welcoming, connected, and friendly community. It includes seasonal and free family events around Austin.
How and When to Play
Why does play matter? It helps children learn about themselves and the world while developing crucial life skills.
Learn more about monitoring your child’s media use from infancy through adolescence.
Find ways to play for children ages 2-8! Activities can be filtered by age and type of skill you wish to learn.
Screen Time Limits for Kids
Screens are a part of everyday life. Learn how to set healthy boundaries for your little ones.
Behavior & Positive Parenting
Parenting young children can be challenging – even when doing everything right, kids can have difficulties working through their feelings. Positive parenting means taking an approach that is sensitive to your child’s needs and addressing challenges with empathy and respect. These skills don’t always come naturally – that’s where classes can help. Parenting classes often follow evidence-based models to equip parents and caregivers to help their child grow healthy, happy, and supported. Austin parenting classes follow these different models: Nurturing Parenting, AVANCE Parent Child Education Program, Play to Learn, Play and Learning Strategies, Triple P, Partners in Parenting, Centering Pregnancy/Parenting, IDADS, and 24/7 Dad.
Home Visiting programs can also help – these programs involve some amount of support at home, ranging from a one-time visit to weekly or monthly check-ins. Home visiting programs bring in a caring professional to check in on you and your family to provide tailored parenting support and resources. Like parenting classes, they are often evidence-based, meaning you get tried and tested care when you most need it. Some of these models in practice in Austin include: Parents as Teachers, Nurse-Family Partnership, Safe Care, Healthy Families America, and Parent Child Plus.
Find Austin resources for behavior and positive parenting on ConnectATX.
Social-Emotional Learning Skills
Activities, tips, resource lists, discussion guides, and more to help you raise caring and ethical children who are concerned about others, and the common good.
What To Do When Kids Talk Back
Kids learn how to express themselves as they grow up – sometimes leading to disrespectful behavior. Address this by teaching them to respond in a more positive manner.
From the perspective of a dad – Dad University provides videos and helpful resources on being a dad. Resources are sorted by topic, age, and behaviors.
National Center for Fathering
NCF strives to improve the lives of children and establish a positive fathering and family legacy that will impact future generations by inspiring and equipping fathers and father figures to be actively engaged in the life of every child. Find information on research, training, and resources for fathers.
National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse
A national resource for dads who are looking for tips, hints. and deals to support their families.
Developmental milestones are behavioral or physical checkpoints in a child’s development. Monitoring your child’s milestones is crucial to know if they are on track with their developmental progress. If caught early, many delays in development can be addressed through specialized therapies aimed to support the growth of the child. Helpful tools like checklists can be used while coordinating with other caretakers in your child’s life to monitor your child’s progress. Over time, you can also help your little one develop though everyday activities like play, helping with basic tasks, and regular engagement.
Find Austin resources for child development on ConnectATX.
Learn The Signs, Act Early
Watch your child’s amazing progress by tracking their developmental milestones , how they play, learn, speak, act, and move. Check out these free tools to help you track your child’s milestones, including an app and downloadable charts.
Navigate Life Texas
Find resources and support for families raising children with disabilities. Find information on diagnosis and health care, education and schools, insurance and financial help, family support, and transition to adulthood.
A guide for Texas parents and caregivers of children with diagnosed or suspected disabilities from birth through 5 years of age.
Pathways: Child Development
Free resources to help understand, track, and encourage your child’s milestones for the best possible outcomes. Find an overview of abilities, games, videos, and other helpful resources.
Serve and Return Brain-Building
When an infant or young child babbles, gestures, or cries, and an adult responds appropriately with eye contact, words, or a hug, neural connections are built and strengthened in the child’s brain that support the development of communication and social skills. Learn more about how practicing Serve and Return with your little one can promote their development.
As little ones are growing, so too is their immune system. Getting plenty of sleep, eating healthy, taking care of their teeth, and moving their bodies can all help support a healthy immune system. When infants, toddlers, and young children get sick, their symptoms can range from mild to worrying. Knowing how and where your child is hurting can help provide some clarity on what may be going on in their bodies and what steps should be taken next. If you are ever concerned or unsure about your child’s health, please consult your pediatrician.
Find Austin resources for health on ConnectATX.
Common Health Issues
Find information on various health issues, including conditions, injuries & emergencies, and vaccine preventable diseases.
Mental health conditions are very common. Learn what to look for, and when to act.
Find tips on teething, toothbrushes, and more to care for your little one’s teeth.
Is your child sick? Whether you’re on the go or at home, this interactive tool will help you know what to do next. The care guides help parents make smart decisions on what level of care (if any) is needed and how to provide speedy symptom relief for minor illnesses or injuries you can manage on your own.
Well-Visit Parent Education
Families make health decisions for their children every day. Ideally, families know the importance of immunizations and regular check-ups and understand that good health depends on family routines, including healthful meals, physical activity, and discipline. Find parent educational handouts for what to expect here.
A pre-visit planning tool to help you make the most of your child’s visit. Use your Well Visit Guide to partner with your child’s provider to meet your child and family’s priorities and needs.
A healthy diet for little ones gives their minds and bodies the right ingredients to grow, develop, and play. Weight and height changes happen often and naturally with growth spurts. You can ensure they feel good in their bodies by helping them get a good variety of foods and plenty of exercise. Starting from infants with breastfeeding or nutrient-rich formulas, through fast-paced Kindergarteners, find plenty of information on what and how to feed your growing little ones.
Find Austin resources for food and nutrition on ConnectATX.
Healthy Children Nutrition
Nutrition is important to normal growth processes, and thus you should make an effort to ensure that your child consumes a well-balanced diet. Your child’s need for calories rises during times of rapid growth, gradually increasing as she moves through middle childhood into puberty.
Healthy Eating Tips
It’s not easy coming up with healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas for kids, day in and day out. Don’t worry. You’ve got this. You can raise kids with healthy eating habits and take the stress out of mealtime. Keep reading to get tips and ideas to make healthy, kid-friendly meals.
A healthy eating routine is important at every stage of life and can have positive effects that add up over time. It’s important to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy and fortified soy alternatives. When deciding what to eat or drink, choose options that are full of nutrients. Make every bite count. Learn more here.
Caring for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers can be downright exhausting. As important as it is to manage a job and set healthy habits for family, caring for our own wellbeing is just as important. Doing things like building inner strength and resiliency, setting helpful boundaries, and practicing mindfulness can all be important actions to ensure you keep your cool and help your little ones in the process.
Find Austin resources for parent wellbeing on ConnectATX.
Building Inner Strength
Nurturing your own inner strength builds parental resilience. Parental resilience allows you to manage your feelings, solve problems with a clear head, take care of yourself, and shelter your children, even when things are difficult. Find tools on building resilience and hear from other parents.
Caregiver Mental Health
Parenting is an important and sometimes challenging job. Looking after yourself helps you do the job well so that your child can grow, develop, and thrive. This Australia-based website has a host of tips and tricks to support your wellbeing.
Making a Family Calendar with Toddlers & Young Kids
Even if you’re not able to stick to your plan all the time, having guidelines can help you get more done and feel less overwhelmed. Schedules and family rituals can help keep kids stay healthy, happy, and out of trouble as they grow up. Here are some tips for creating a family calendar that work for young children.
Mindfulness has been used with adults to reduce stress, bolster overall health and psychological functioning, and assist a return to wellness following adversity. It may also support healthy adult-child relationships. Find resources on mindfulness here.
We all want our children to be safe, healthy, and happy. With that in mind, we work to create an environment that provides safe boundaries for little ones. These boundaries include physical spaces – babyproofing, car safety, water safety, hazardous materials – as well as helping them set emotional boundaries to create lasting and healthy relationships. A helpful way to support children is to consider the environments they will be in and enact preventative efforts to keep them safe. A little information and planning can go a long way.
Find Austin resources for safety on ConnectATX.
Car seats and boosters provide protection for infants and children in a crash, yet car crashes are a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. That’s why it’s so important to choose and use the right car seat correctly every time your child is in the car. Follow these important steps to choose the right seat, install it correctly, and keep your child safe.
Keeping Kids Safe In and Around Cars
The best way to keep kids safe around cars is to create safe habits when they are young. Consider safety guidelines with car seats and seat belts, parking lot safety, and temperature regulation here.
If you think someone has been poisoned, call at 1-800-222-1222 right away. Do not wait for the victim to look or feel sick. Find other helpful safety information for prevention and education.
Safety Hub for Big Kids
On this site, you will find the top tips every parent needs to keep their big kids safe. Find other resources like check-lists and videos that will give you the tools you need to ensure they stay safe.
Water Safety: Colin’s Hope
Drowning is fast, silent, and preventable. Colin’s Hope teaches parents, caregivers, and children about water safety to prevent drowning.
Getting enough sleep can be difficult to ensure for a growing child. Little ones grow and change so much over time, as do their sleep habits and needs. The amount and quality of sleep they get is just as important as their nutrition and exercise to their overall growth and development. Between naps and bedtime, infants need 12-16 hours, toddlers need 11-14 hours, preschoolers need 10-13 hours, and grade-schoolers need 9-12 hours. Establishing good sleep habits with your little ones will help them now and set them up for success as they grow older.
Healthy Children: Sleep
Sleep is just as important to your children’s development and well-being as nutrition and physical activity. The amount and quality of sleep we have can affect our safety, how alert we are, as well as our memories, moods, behavior, and learning abilities. Establishing good sleep practices while your children are young will not only benefit you, but it will help them for many years to come.