Parenting Matters Conference

Parenting Matters logo

2nd Annual Parenting Matters Conference!

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019 

Parenting Matters is the first parenting conference in Berrien County! This free, day-long conference is dedicated to empowering parents through fun, interactive and research-based workshops centered around popular parenting topics. Parents will have the opportunity to learn about new information and develop& skills that will help them feel more confident in raising their little ones

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Parenting Matters Conference Schedule
Parenting Matters Conference Flyer

Parenting Resource Tables -
(AT CAPACITY, no longer accepting applications for 2019)

If your agency, program or service would like to have materials on a display table at the conference, please let us know.  
For questions about the Resource Table, please contact Anna VanderBeck at

2019 Workshop Sessions:

Opening Keynote (9:00-10:00 a.m.)

Setting Your Child Up for Success

Darla Campbell

Is there a formula for preparing your child to be a good student and a responsible human?

This talk will explore the small things that every parent can do, right now, to give their child the tools for success in school and in life. Parents will walk away with a deeper understanding of child development and the little things they can do to foster a happy, self confident child.

Session 1- (10:10-11:30 a.m.)

Decreasing Temper Tantrums

Kerenda Applebey M.S.W., M.A.eD, Berrien RESA

All children have Temper Tantrums, but as a parent you can help them to decrease quickly OR you can mistakenly do things that make them worse. This workshop will help you understand the cause of Temper Tantrums, identify some practical tools for preventing and handling them, and know when to worry that they are more than is typical. (ages 1-3yrs.)

Literacy for Kindergarten through 2nd Grade Students:  Reading, Rhyming, and Readiness

Rebecca Miles, Berrien RESA and Kerry Minderman, Berrien RESA

An engaging, hands on opportunity for parents to learn how to support their child as a developing reader from Kindergarten through 2nd grade. The presentation will feature activities, videos, take away resources, and time to ask questions of educators. (ages Kindergarten-2nd grade)

Parenting in a Busy World

Tia Miller, Berrien RESA

This presentation will focus on how in this busy world parents can stay engaged and involved in the early years of their children’s education. This workshop will help parents learn ways that they can stay engaged and involved with their children at home and in school. Parents will have an opportunity to explore and ask questions with other parents in this session. This session will help parents support the expansion of learning and understanding of their involvement in their child’s educational environment. (ages 3yrs-3rd Grade)

I am from Mars and my child is from Venus

Kristine D. Stubelt SPsyS, IMH-2, Berrien RESA and Mindy Watson, LMSW, Berrien RESA

We will be discussing the 7 recognized temperament traits and participants will be asked to fill out the Infant Toddler Temperament tool and identify similarities and differences between parent and child. We will problem solve how to facilitate best fit and recognition of said differences and similarities. (ages Birth-3yrs)

Add Some STEAM to Your Child’s Development

Teri Sue Feeling, 8th District Commissioner

Join Teri Sue for some hands-on STEAM experiments that you can add to your day to address the approach of whole child development.  

Project Potty: It’s a Journey Not a Race

Susan Haselhoff, Lead Parent Educator, Berrien RESA

Every parent dreams of a diaper free world, just picture it- no more messes or buying diapers each month! So you are ready for potty training, but is your child ready? Join us to learn about readiness signs, potty learning strategies, and possible bumps in the road to help make your potty training journey not only successful but less stressful. (ages 1-5yrs.)

Session 2- (12:30-1:30 p.m.)

Speech and Motor Skill Fun

Amy Stier, Berrien RESA and Jennifer Pepper, Northside Child Development Center

There is evidence that indicates that motor based activities can result in increased speech. We will provide you with information regarding speech development from infancy through early childhood. Parents will leave with some activities that will get your child moving and talking! (ages 1-5yrs)

I Like Me!

Sue Benjamin & Donna Dodge, Northside Child Development Center

Participants will engage in activities that develop self-esteem and positive behaviors in children. Information will revolve around the books, “I Like Myself” and “How Full is Your Bucket”. We will dive into the Five Love Languages and relate the information to the children in our care. (ages 1yr.-3rd grade)

Creation Station: Let’s Play and Create Math Games

Joe Elsheikhi, Berrien RESA

Math games can be lots of fun and beneficial for the whole family.  This workshop will focus on how to encourage our children’s critical thinking skills.  Parents will have the opportunity to learn and create new math games for all ages. (ages K-3rd grade)

"Navigating the world for special needs children"

Christina Stackman, Parenting Matters Committee Member

This class is given from a mother’s perspective on parenting special needs children. Including strategies to make the most of your time with your children, tips for advocating and information for support and resources. (ages Birth-3rd grade)

Starting from Day One- Activities to Promote Kindergarten Readiness

Kristen Chism, Great Start Collaborative

Your child begins to learn from day one! This session will review School Readiness Indicators and explore fun and simple activities any parent can do with their children to help them meet these goals. We will discuss practical ways to help children develop Strong Relationships, Strong Minds and Strong Bodies so that they are prepared to enter Kindergarten when the time comes! (ages Birth- 5yrs)

Taking the Struggle Out of Bedtime

Susan Haselhoff-Lead Parent Educator, Berrien RESA

Bedtime can be an emotionally charged time for you & your child.  We all know sleep is a key ingredient in a child’s growth and development, but what can we do to help them get the sleep they need?  You don’t need to teach your child to sleep; we are all are programmed to sleep. What you can do is teach your child positive sleeping habits and routines.  Join us in this session to learn about the importance of sleep, how much sleep a child needs, strategies for bedtime routines, and possible obstacles that can get in the way of bedtime. (ages 1-5 yrs.)


Session 3- (1:45-2:45 p.m.)

Sensory Integration

Amy Stier OT, Berrien RESA

What is sensory processing, and what can parents do when it impacts function and daily routines?  Learn about the sensory systems and activities to assist with sensory based behavior along with some fun sensory play.  (ages prenatal-3rd grade)


Conscious Discipline

Maureen Pliley, Northside Child Development Center

Conscious discipline is a research based approach that helps adults remain calm in order to effectively teach children problem solving skills. It is used to teach children instead of punish. We are switching the way we think, and the way we talk to children. (ages 1yr-3rd grade)

Making Informed Food Choices and Developing Sound Eating and Physical Activities

Marcy Herbert, Pokagon Health Services

This session will help families discover the benefits of a healthy eating style and how to successfully choose foods and drinks to live a healthier life.  

“Strengthening Families”

Heather Steinbrook, Parent Liaison for the Great Start Parent Coalition

No matter what kind of family you come from, you can always become a stronger one. There are 5 protective that make your family stronger. Come find out what they are. (ages Prenatal-3rd grade)

Baby & Me - Benefits of Yoga for New Parents and their infants

Amy Underwood, OTR/L

Yoga has many health benefits and for new parents these benefits can be shared with their infant. There is a common misconception that yoga is just for fit and flexible adults, this is not the case. Not only does starting a yoga practice with an infant at a young age support their developmental milestones. It can also help with parent child bonding, increase a parents social support and promote well being for both parent and child. (ages Birth-1yr)

Technology: Friend or Foe?

Justina Spicer, PhD

Children are growing up in world where technology is all around them. From birth, kids are exposed to phones and smart devices capturing their every move, interact at a very young age with screens and tablets, and are captivated by the instantaneous and engaging aspects of technology. Parents often find themselves trying to establish a healthy balance of technology and asking questions like: How much is too much? When can technology be useful? How much screen time should my child have? This session will present the recent research on early childhood technology and explore the guidelines for creating healthy technology habits early on. (ages Birth-3rd grade)

Closing Remarks- (3:00-3:30 p.m.)

Great Start
Berrien RESABCF logo
This program is made possible (in whole or in part) by a grant from the Berrien Community Foundation.

Contact Information

Susan Parlak Headshot

Parent Conference Coordinator 
Susan Parlak
Tel: 269-471-7725, ext. 1356
Fax: 269-473-1113

Heather S Photo

Parent Conference Coordinator 
Heather Steinbrook

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