Video-led parenting feedback programme has successful trial in toddlers

A video-led parenting programme, which aims to prevent childhood behavioural problems, has been successfully trialled by the public, according to the University of Cambridge.

The sessional, home-based programme – called Video-feedback Intervention to promote Positive Parenting and Sensitive Discipline (VIPP-SD) – ‘targets’ children when they are still toddlers.

Video clips of ‘everyday interactions’ are filmed by health professionals who visit their homes and then analyse the recordings. During the next visit, video feedback is provided to parents so they can build on ‘positive moments’ during play and reflect on both successful and challenging incidents.

This is intended to help parents identify ‘particular cues and signals’ and reinforce ‘positive engagement and behaviours’.

Funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the project trialled 300 participant families with children aged between one and two years-old, who had shown ‘early signs of behaviour problems’. Participants were identified through healthcare assessments, after exhibiting more severe tantrums and ‘rule breaking’ than ‘normal’.

Half of the selected families took part in the programme alongside regular healthcare support, while the remaining half received only routine assistance.

Results after six months showed that the children in families who’d used video-feedback ‘displayed significantly reduced behavioural problems’ than those who had not, according to the University.

The trial – believed to be one of the first ‘real-world’ interventions for behavioural challenges in such a young age group – was carried out by NHS professionals from six trusts.

Paul Ramchandani, Professor of Play in Education, Development and Learning at the University of Cambridge, said: “To provide this programme in any health service would require investment, but it can realistically be delivered as part of routine care. Doing so would benefit a group of children who are at risk of going on to have problems with their education, behaviour, future wellbeing and mental health.

“There is a chance here to invest early and alleviate those difficulties now, potentially preventing problems in the longer term that are far worse.”

Part of larger project called ‘Healthy Start, Happy Start’, which is led by academics from the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London and looks into video-based approaches, the programme is delivered across six 90-minute home visits.

To view the results, visit JAMA Pediatrics.