How can I help address inequalities and support Positive Parenting? 5 - 8 years

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:

  • Parents should play and speak with their children while at their eye level and, as much as possible, while face to face with them.
  • Parents should talk about what's happening and allow time for the child to respond.
  • Distracting background noise should be avoided (e.g. television or radio on all the time).
  • 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 join 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.
  • 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.

Teachers

Primary school teachers are in a unique position where they can professionally assess the development of children and work with parents to help children achieve their potential. They can promote the following key messages:

  • Involve parents in their child's education by giving them regular updates on progress and engaging them through homework tasks.
  • Be prepared to explain your observations in ways they can understand, while recommending sources of information and support.
  • Be sensitive to the child's home situation and the capabilities of parents.
  • Create opportunities for parents to become involved with in-school activities, such as trips, sports days, school shows and fundraisers.
  • Raise any behavioural problems you encounter with the child's parents.
  • Refer early for assessment for additional support for learning if you suspect developmental problems.

Social Workers

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

Social workers can help support positive parenting in the following ways:

  • 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).
  • Maintain a focus on interventions that help maintain secure attachment and sensitive interaction between parents and their children.
  • Encourage parents to play with and talk to their children while face to face.
  • Highlight the importance of a quality home learning environment over that of household socioeconomic status.
  • 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 resources.
  • Encourage visits to library.
  • Encourage engagement with group-based parental support.

Please also see the advice given below for GPs and Practice Nurses.

GPs and practice nurses

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

  • Be prepared to clearly explain any advice or information given in ways the parents can understand.
  • 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 you 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 speech and language therapy 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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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.

Voluntary sector workers and managers

Voluntary sector agencies can:

  • Develop trusting relationships with vulnerable parents to facilitate their willingness to use services
  • encourage parents to make sure their children are enrolled in and attend school
  • 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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