KIPS: Keys to Interactive Parenting Scale

parenting assessment


Nurturing Insights

Proving Outcomes

KIPS shows how parents grow.  With the KIPS parenting assessment you can document parenting outcomes.  KIPS measures 12 key facets of parenting that you can use in partnership with families to promote parent-child relationships, promote learning and support confidence.   



Rated “A-Reliability and Validity Demonstrated” by 

California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse

Recommended By:

For a Summary of KIPS Psychometrics:

National Child Traumatic Stress Network Measures Database 

FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention

“KIPS often helps providers understand and build on the positive behaviors a parent displays, which often brings balance to the "problems" a child/parent might be getting help for.  It provides a framework to work from in identifying relational goals,  and therefore ways to support a parent in being more responsive to their child.”

Rachel Talamantez   Kidscope, Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Services Department, California

"As an evaluation tool, KIPS allows us to measure parent-child interactions over time.  With coaching and support, many families demonstrate improvement across all areas of the tool.  It is rewarding to see the growth! The home visitors report that KIPS is one of the most meaningful evaluation activities they do with parents. They enjoy making regular videos of the parents playing with their children. When they review the videos together, they are able to provide supportive feedback to the parents and help them build on their strengths."

Rosie Zweiback, Project Director

Interdisciplinary Center for Program Evaluation

Munroe-Meyer Institute

University of Nebraska Medical Center

"KIPS has been a great success in guiding the family goals. The parents watch the video and discuss with their home visitor their strengths, and then identify one or tow areas to work towards improving. With specific goals formt he KIPS assessment, they work out a plan." 

Erin Cowan-Hegg

PAT Program Director

Child Crisis Arizona

What Is the KIPS Parenting Assessment?

KIPS is a convenient, reliable, evidence-based tool to effectively measure parenting behaviors. Family service programs commonly aim to enhance parenting to promote children’s development. However, few programs directly assess parenting behavior. By assessing parenting, you can tailor services to individual families, track parenting progress, and document program outcomes.

parenting assessment matters to children

What Can KIPS Do For You?

  • Identify 12 key parenting behaviors
  • Guide staff observations
  • Support reflective practice and supervision
  • Evaluate parenting outcomes
  • Track parenting progress and change over time

KIPS Features

  • 12 parenting behaviors derived from research
  • Meaningful to providers for intervention
  • Validated with families of children 2 - 71 months
  • High inter-rater reliability
  • High internal consistency
  • Proven validity
  • Fast to Use: Observe 15 min + Score 20 min
  • Available in English and Spanish

12 Key Parenting Behaviors Assessed

Building Relationships

1. Sensitivity of Responses
2. Supports Emotions
3. Physical Interaction
4. Involvement in Child’s Activities
5. Open to Child’s Agenda

Promoting Learning
6. Engagement in Language Experiences
7. Reasonable Expectations
8. Adapts Strategies to Child
9. Limits & Consequences

Supporting Confidence
10. Supportive Directions
11. Encouragement
12. Promotes Exploration & Curiosity

As a clinician working with 0-5 year olds, I LOVED this parenting assessment.  It is so useful for treatment planning and intervention.  Hopefully, I will get to share knowledge of it with some of my colleagues who work in community mental health.  They are always looking for relatively "easy" parenting assessments that can incorporate measurable and observable goals. asianmom_kissingbaby

Parenting Assessment Process 

Since KIPS is used to observe caregiver-child play, it is well received by families and children. KIPS assesses a caregiver (e.g. parent, other family member) interacting with a child. The observation requires only 20 minutes (15 minutes of free play and 5 minutes of clean up, if appropriate). Scoring takes only 10 minutes. To assure reliability, we recommend that you videotape the play session and score later.

What Does KIPS Look Like?

12 KIPS items use 1 to 5 quality ratings

with behavioral anchors

Training and annual
online recertification
are required to use KIPS
see the KIPS Training page
KIPS Parenting AssessmentKIPS was the missing piece in our initial assessment. . . .We are a group of three Infant Mental Health Specialists who long waited for the tool you created.  It’s comprehensive, easy to administer, balanced between strength and need focus, and effective for case formulation and monitoring.


KIPS validation


I was surprised.  I saw things in the families I didn’t realize.  It made me change my whole lesson plan.  The [parents] that I thought were going to score low really surprised me.  My mouth was open when I saw the scores, and this was both ways - both high and low.