We foster healthy parenting skills, enrich family relationships, and promote emotional wellness.

UT Extension’s Family and Consumer Sciences supports families all across Tennessee with researched-based programming aimed at building healthy relationships, cultivating emotional wellness, supporting child and youth development, and providing support during family transitions.

Resources and Programs in Your Community

We offer the following research-based programming to our Extension county agents for use in communities across Tennessee. To learn more about these resources and which programs are offered in your community, contact your county Extension Office.

To learn more or to find out if this program is available in your community,

contact your local FCS Extension Agent.

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Promoting optimal development in children, youth, and adults

Expand the selections below for information on these Development program opportunities.

Babysitting ROCKS targets youth 12 and older and provides them with comprehensive experience with all aspects of babysitting topics. Broad topics include child development, health, safety, communicating with parents, saving money, etc. The program can be taught as a one-, two-, or three-day camp option. Resources include a participant handbook and a knapsack filled with babysitting necessities.

The overall goal of Fitting It Together is for juveniles to learn to openly and constructively communicate within their interpersonal relationships.

Girl Talk has been developed to bring women and girls (ages 11-14) together in a non-threatening, friendly environment to learn together about sexuality, communication, family values, and decision making. The curriculum presents factual information about sexuality, body changes, male and female differences, pregnancy, fetal development, parent responsibilities, STIs, and making responsible decisions. Girl Talk encourages both mothers (or mother-like figures) and girls to apply the skills learned to develop an open communication system within the family.

This program is the next “step up” from Girl Talk and expands on issues of physical development and sexuality, while still focusing on the importance of personal and family values and communication. This program is intended for girls (ages 14-17) and their mothers (or mother-like figures).

Guy Talk has been developed to bring men and boys (ages 11-14) together in a non-threatening, friendly environment to learn together about sexuality, communication, family values, and decision making. The curriculum presents factual information about sexuality, body changes, male and female differences, pregnancy, fetal development, parent responsibilities, STIs, and making responsible decisions. Guy Talk encourages both fathers (or father-like figures) and boys to apply the skills learned to develop an open communication system within the family.

Since 2014, UT Extension has earned more than $3.2 million for quality afterschool programming from the Tennessee Department of Education and USDA to help schools receiving a “failing grade” as determined by the Tennessee School Report Card program. In 2018 we operated nine afterschool programs across the state serving 710 children. Our philosophy is to provide kids hands-on, experiential activities where they “learn by doing.” The curricula are focused on reading, science, math, technology, health, homework, social emotional learning and leadership. The program targets children/youth who are struggling academically and emotionally. Participation is dependent on an active program in your county.

This program provides training materials for childcare providers in childcare and family daycare settings. Topics consist of ages and stages of child development, developmentally appropriate practice, relationships with parents, health and safety, cultural diversity, and others. Directors also are trained in staff development and financial stability. Topics vary. 

Emotional Wellness
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Programs designed to encourage emotional well-being

Expand the selections below for information on these Emotional Wellness program opportunities.

In partnership with Building Stronger Brains (BSB) Tennessee from the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, this program is intended to teach on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). ACEs are instances of abuse, neglect, or household dysfunction (e.g., exposure to drug abuse, domestic violence, etc.) that occur before the age of 18. Participants can expect to learn the following: (1) the latest science on early childhood brain development, (2) how exposure to childhood adversity can negatively impact the developing brain, (3) how brains impacted by ACEs contribute to poor coping behaviors and compromised physical and mental health, and (4) ways to reduce risk and build resiliency in children and families. This curriculum fulfills state requirements for K-12 educators and childcare providers in being “trauma-informed” (see Tenn. Code § 49-1-230).  The curriculum is offered in several formats: 3 hours, 1.5 hours, 30-minutes, and a brief 15-minute lunch and learn.

BrainWise is a comprehensive, evidence-based program that provides the essential tools to help individuals make good decisions and take control of their lives. Using the “ten wise ways,” the curriculum is designed to teach children, youth, and adults concepts on brain science, recognizing and responding to stress and hardship, weighing good and bad choices, avoiding impulsive behavior, making responsible decisions, and building emotion regulation skills. BrainWise contains many fun, interactive lessons and activities that are appealing to all ages and learning styles. This program contains three different formats: Children (K-5th grade), youth (6-12th grade), and adults (one-on-one in a mentor/mentee format). 

Farmers and ranchers face stress that few outside of their field can relate to or understand. Sometimes, that isolated feeling, along with daily and unique issues (e.g., the economy and consumer purchase trends) increases stress on farms. Managing that stress is critical to producers, their families, and the communities they serve. UT Extension offers resources to increase awareness about the issue of farm-related stress, as well as resources to manage it effectively.

Matching Mind & Body is a toolkit of lessons, activities, fact sheets, and resources designed to teach self-regulation and stress-reducing strategies in the areas of mindfulness, movement, and social and emotional learning. Mindfulness is a strategy for maintaining open, non-judgmental presence and awareness in the moment, and includes breathing activities, guided relaxations, mindful meditations, tools, and more. Movement refers to the integration of mindfulness with the physical body through yoga, deep stretching, body scans, and mindful movement. Social and emotional learning encompasses activities designed to teach the essential skills of emotional intelligence, including self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. 

Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Research demonstrates a promising connection between utilizing mindful strategies in the treatment of stress-related symptoms and reducing the impact of chronic physical and mental health conditions. We offer several lessons, brief activities, and resources to teach mindful strategies for reducing stress, promoting self-care, and mental wellness.

Mindfulness for Children is a single session intended for adults to learn more about how they can increase children’s ability to engage in mindfulness exercises. Objectives are to learn about the benefits of mindfulness for children and activities and children’s books to help teach mindfulness to children. This program offers hands-on activities that practitioners can easily integrate into their work with children of all ages.

RELAX: Alternatives to Anger is a workshop to promote awareness on the impact of anger on socio-emotional health and interpersonal relationships and to provide strategies for managing heightened emotions. RELAX is an acronym that strategizes “in the moment” de-escalation tactics to recognize, empathize, listen, accept, and x-out the past. The curriculum is available in English and Spanish.

Tennessee counties are all equipped to educate and respond to questions related to mental health and wellness. Topics include stress management, suicide prevention and postvention, working toward life balance, and a general overview of how mental health and wellness affects our daily lives.

Family Transitions
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Strengthening families through transitions

Expand the selections below for information on these Family Transitions program opportunities.

This educational program is for parents who are creating a parenting plan that will be routed through the Tennessee court system. This class satisfies TN code 36-6-408 requiring parents who are creating a new parenting plan to complete a minimum of four hours of education about how to not put the child in the middle of conflict and how to best support their transition through changing family scenarios.

This program has two components – one targeting parents and one targeting child care providers. The purpose of the program is to share vital information with those who care for children to help them prepare their children for the years, months, weeks, and days leading up to the first day of kindergarten. Research shows that children unprepared for kindergarten (either socially, emotionally, or through minimal exposure to reading) only have a 25 percent chance of graduating from high school. This is a 2 to 4 hour workshop.

Healthy Relationships
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Fostering healthy relationships

Expand the selections below for information on these Healthy Relationships program opportunities.

For parents of children from birth to age 5 shows how to nurture a child with a “just right” combination of freedom and nonviolent discipline. Also provided in Spanish.

This comprehensive program helps parents of children ages 5 to 12 learn to raise responsible, courageous children able to resist negative peer pressure. Also provided in Spanish.

This program helps parents gain confidence and courage to meet the challenges (and savor the joys) of their children’s teen years. Also provided in Spanish.

“Digi_Life” is shortened name for “Digital Life” and is a curriculum guide to educate about the relationship between technology and our everyday lives. It was designed with adults in mind, but is easily translated into use with youth ages 14 and up. This curriculum does not offer “how-to” sessions with specific software or hardware. Instead, these sessions offer information on how to integrate and manage technology in a manner that contributes to a healthy and positive quality of life.

The program teaches two main points. First, how to pace the development of a relationship in a healthy way so that the love is blind syndrome is avoided. Second, the program teaches five areas to get to know about a partner that accurately predicts what they will be like in a long-term relationship.

This is a relationship and marriage education program based on The Five Love Languages (Chapman, 2004) and includes research-based information from the Gottman Institute. This one-session program intends to enhance satisfaction and confidence in a relationship while also encouraging the use of healthy communication and empathy skills.

Learn how to perfect your parenting skills as well as your money management habits through PACE – Parenting and Consumer Education. This interactive and fun program developed by experts at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture will help you learn more about your children and your money – two very important aspects of your life. Through two programs, KidSmart and MoneyWise, you will learn basic information and easy to implement tips that will help not only you but your entire family. Topics for KidSmart include dealing with crisis, time management, learning to listen, etc.

This program helps adults understand why boys behave the way they do. Although this program covers information related to boys from birth to high school, there are lessons/components that focus on birth to 5 and the childcare audience. The program can be taught to middle/high school youth, parents, and childcare providers.

To learn more about programs and resources offered in your community, contact your county Extension Office.