How can I help address inequalities and support Positive Parenting? 0-3 years

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Key messages for parents, grandparents and other care-givers

Those who work with families can support parents and other caregivers to provide positive parenting by promoting the following key messages:

  • Babies need to be cuddled and kept close. Loving contact with their carer is the best resource for them in the early months
  • Parents should play and speak with their children while at their eye level.
  • They should talk about what's happening - their child will understand long before they can respond with speech and will pick up lots of new words.
  • Parents should read to their children daily or, if reading is difficult, talk about the pictures in books.
  • Children should be given access age-appropriate books - as many as possible.
  • Parents can joining their local library and check charity shops for free or cheap books.
  • Parents should respond to baby pointing and reaching by naming and picking up toys or objects they gesture towards.
  • Parents can aid language development by clearly repeating any words or part words children say.
  • Television viewing should be controlled and limited - playing with toys and listening to stories are better for language development.
  • For information and details of local support, parents can visit Parenting Across Scotland (external link) or call ParentLine Scotland on 0800 028 2233.

Lots of tips, advice and suggestions for activities are available online at the Play, Talk, Read website.

These cartoon-based resources developed by Speech and Language Therapists give information and advice on supporting the development of good interactions with children:

Please also see below for further resources.

Nursery school staff and childminders

In addition to the above advice for parents:

  • raise behavioural problems you encounter with the child's parents
  • be prepared to explain them in ways they can understand while recommending sources of information and support
  • make sure you have access to a range of parent information resources in a variety of formats
  • encourage parents to seek further help early if problems are suspected and be ready with details of supportive organisations and services.

Lots of tips, advice and suggestions for activities are available online at the Play, Talk, Read website.

Please also see below for further resources.

Midwives, health visitors and social workers

Midwives, health visitors and social workers are ideally placed to develop trusting, respectful communicative relationships with parents of the type research has shown they most value.

Midwives, health visitors and social workers can help support positive parenting in the following ways:

  • Maintain a focus on interventions that help develop secure attachment and sensitive interaction between parents and their children
  • close contact is fundamental to secure attachment
  • Baby massage, Bounce and Rhyme sessions, Play and Share and Mellow Babies are examples of interventions that support good parent-child attachment
  • Encourage parents to play with and talk to their children while at eye level with them
  • Highlight the importance of a quality home learning environment over that of household socioeconomic status
  • Consider the wider circumstances of the family - e.g. give assistance to link to services that help with income maximisation of poor families or that can improve housing circumstances
  • Ensure that fathers are equally consulted and informed in matters concerning the health, development and wellbeing of their children (except where precluded by child protection concerns)
  • Ensure receipt of Book Bug and play@home resources
  • Encourage visits to the library
  • Encourage engagement with group-based parental support
  • Encourage enrolment into pre-school education.
  • Observe good 'Inclusive Communication Practice' as set out in Principles of Inclusive Communication - A self-assessment tool for public authorities
  • Use the 'Teach-Back Technique' to help ensure important information has been adequately understood: Teach-Back Technique Postcard (Download PDF - 360kb)

Please also see the advice given below for GPs and practice nurses.

Service managers, commissioners and employers

Service managers and commissioners can:

  • ensure that staff who have contact with parents are able (and have the time) to clearly explain any advice or information given in ways the parents can understand
  • provide continuing professional development opportunities for staff to encourage and assist them to provide more personalised information and support in ways that parents understand and appreciate
  • provide CPD training for professionals and practitioners around meeting the needs of young mothers
  • provide training and support that encourages mutual understanding, respect and effective two-way communication between parents and professionals
  • ensure services are accessible to all, relevant to vulnerable families and consistent with public sector policy commitments
  • ensure public health campaigns and information on services are accessible to those with a range of communication support needs
  • where new information resources are being developed, ensure that fathers and the different parenting situations they encounter (e.g. lone fathers, non-resident) are equally represented in content and imagery.
  • consider whether specific father only information resources may be appropriate.

GPs and practice nurses

Professionals working in general practice are the most preferred and trusted source of health information for parents. GPs should:

  • Be prepared to clearly explain any advice or information given in ways the parents can understand.
  • Encourage parents to provide responsive care.
  • Observe good 'Inclusive Communication Practice' as set out in Principles of Inclusive Communication - A self-assessment tool for public authorities.
  • Use the 'Teach-Back Technique' to help ensure important information has been adequately understood: Teach-Back Technique Postcard (Download PDF - 360kb).
  • Ensure that fathers are equally consulted and informed in matters concerning the health, development and wellbeing of their children (except where precluded by child protection concerns).
  • Make sure they have access to a range of take-away parent information resources in a variety of formats.
  • Refer onwards or encourage parents to seek further help early if problems are suspected and be ready with details of supportive organisations and services.
  • Refer early for SLT assessment if speech, language and communications difficulties are suspected - see the Lothian guidelines for referral to SLT (MSWord Download - 116Kb) (or similar).

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Voluntary sector workers and managers

Voluntary sector agencies can:

  • Develop trusting relationships with vulnerable parents to facilitate tehri willingness to use services.
  • Ensure that staff who have contact with parents are able (and have the time) to clearly explain any advice or information given in ways the parents can understand.
  • Encourage use of the 'Teach-Back Technique' to help ensure important information has been adequately understood: Teach-Back Technique Postcard (Download PDF - 360kb)
  • Seek and provide continuing professional development opportunities for staff to encourage and assist them to provide more personalised information and support in ways that parents understand and appreciate
  • Seek out and provide training and support that encourages mutual understanding, respect and effective two-way communication between parents and professionals.

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