Thoughtful Parenting: Redefining connection

Sophie Berkley
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

Parents, has the COVID-19 pandemic left you feeling disconnected from your kids? Has your family’s device/screentime increased dramatically since March 2020?

As a mom, I struggle with the amount of time my son spends on his iPad. I suggest that he read, draw or journal, but none of these are as appealing as the lights, sounds and excitement of TikTok or YouTube. Kids would rather play video games online with their friends across town than hang out in person. Do you find it difficult to find ways to engage your children in family activities? Then it is time to disconnect so that we can reconnect with our kids.

The theme of this year’s parent summit is “Redefining connection.” The Parent Summit, now in its fifth year, is an event organized by the Routt County Youth Services Coalition. The purpose of the summit is to offer relevant and timely speakers addressing a myriad of parenting topics, as well as to connect parents to community resources and to other parents.

This year’s keynote presentation will be given by Brooks Kaskela from Raise the Future. Founded in 1983, Raise the Future is an organization dedicated to designing and implementing evidence-based, wrap-around services to reduce the amount of time youth in foster care live without a permanent family. Kaskela will discuss connecting principles of trust-based relational interventions.

According to Raise the Future, a trust-based relational intervention is a family-based intervention, which promotes attachment between children and their caregivers that produces warmth and trust. Even challenging and resistant adolescents appreciate opportunities for joyful and close connections with their parents. This training will provide an in-depth look at connection and attachment, and participants will learn tools they can put into action with their children immediately.

Breakout sessions will feature local speakers and address topics such as virtual safety, parent wellness, reflective listening and positive youth development. Some examples are “Reimagining Connection by Shifting Perception” by Sophie Berkley; “Media Savvy” presented by Graham Hackett of Advocates of Routt County; “Put Your Mask on First” by local wellness guru Sarah Coleman; and “Supporting LGBTQIA+ Youth” by Chelsie Holmes from Advocates of Routt County.

The Parent Connection Summit will be held from 8:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 19 at Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs. Translation and child care services will be available. To register, visit, or for more information, email We look forward to connecting to you.

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