The Incredible Years® Blog

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Celebrating achievements in Ireland and Northern Ireland!

Cheers to all of the wonderful Incredible Years group leaders in Ireland and Northern Ireland who are working hard to support families in your communities!

Over the years, 2539 group leaders have been trained to provide Incredible Years programs in the Republic of Ireland, and 1620 group leaders have been trained to provide IY in Northern Ireland.

Cross-border support for families in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland

In Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland, the cross-border work continues, through the support of The Changing Lives Initiative, to provide Incredible Years parenting programs for families with children aged 3-7 experiencing behaviors consistent with ADHD. The Changing Lives Initiative is comprised of five partner organizations: Archways, Colin Neighbourhood Partnership, Dundalk Institute of Technology, The Genesis Programme (Louth Leader Partnership) and NHS Highland. Learn more about their incredible work: The Changing Lives Initiative: An Early Intervention Approach to ADHD

IY ASD Program in Northern Ireland

Incredible Years Parenting Programs have been offered extensively in Northern Ireland for some time. In 2018, our friends in Northern Ireland added our Autism Parenting Program to their suite of Incredible Years program offerings. An evaluation of IY ASD program delivery found positive results: Incredible Years Autism Spectrum and Language Delays Programme Evaluation Report.

IY TCM Program in Ireland

For more than ten years, psychologists from the Irish National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) have been collaborating with primary schools in their community and delivering the Incredible Years® Teacher Classroom Management program. In 2021, two studies evaluating implementation of the IY TCM program in Ireland were published.

The first, Exploring the impact of Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management training on teacher psychological outcomes, included 368 Irish primary school teachers, looking at the potential impact of classroom management training on teacher psychological outcomes. Their findings suggest that there are benefits to teachers’ wellbeing and feeling of self-efficacy from IY Teacher Classroom Management Training as teachers learn positive strategies to manage challenging student behaviors.

The second study, Sustained CPD as an effective approach in the delivery of the Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management programme, considered the experiences of teachers receiving IY Teacher Classroom Management program training as part of their continuing professional development. The study found the TCM program to be an effective program for use in teacher continuing professional development. The study highlights the importance of teacher group leaders tailoring the program to the needs of the participants, using the collaborative model, and providing sustained support.

Cheers to these incredible group leaders and your commitment to promote the well-being of children in your communities!


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New Hot Tips for Leading Benefits & Barriers Exercises!

  • by Carolyn Webster-Stratton, Ph.D.

The purpose of the Incredible Years Benefits and Barriers exercise is for group leaders to explore with workshop participants the benefits of the skill being taught in the particular workshop session (such as, child directed play, social, emotion, academic or persistent coaching, descriptive commenting, praise, incentives, self-regulation skills, proactive discipline, and problem solving).

Exploring Benefits

After reviewing the previous session home or classroom assignments, the group leader introduces the new topic by asking participants what they think the benefits are of doing the particular parenting or teaching method being discussed in the session. You can start this discussion by dividing the group up into buddy dyads or small groups to discuss the benefits. After that the groups report their reflections back to the larger group and their key points are briefly summarized on a flip chart using the participants’ words. As you validate their ideas, you can explore with them the rationale for the approach. Highlight how the benefit helps children achieve their developmental milestones or their particular goals. For example, you might say, “one benefit you are saying of emotion coaching is that it builds a child’s emotion literacy, which in turn will helps children learn to self-regulate.”

Exploring Barriers

Once the benefits are discussed the same groups break out again in dyads or small groups to discuss possible barriers to using the particular coaching or relationship building method or behavior management strategy. Afterwards these barriers are summarized with the entire group and the key points are put on the flip chart next to the benefits list. For example, some barriers often discussed are: not enough time to do this because of number of children, not understanding the rationale for its use, difficulty managing the children’s behavioral responses when using the particular approach, not believing in the particular approach, and not having the patience or motivation to carry it out due to home or school context stressors.

During the barriers exercise discussion be sure you do not evaluate the barriers, or try to solve the problem obstacles but simply write down the obstacle as participants state them. Also remember not to mix up talking about benefits and barriers at the same discussion. Do each discussion separately.

Promote Reflections

Next ask the participants to look at the two lists and think about the short-term advantages and disadvantages of the approach and for whom there are benefits or barriers, such as parent, teacher or child. Frequently group participants will see that the barriers are mostly problems for the parent or teacher, especially in the short term, while the long term benefits are for the child and their future relationship with their teacher and/or parent. Keep these discussions fairly short and succinct because you will have time to unpack them and problem solve ways to overcome some of the obstacles as participants discuss the separate video vignettes.

After the lists have been created and summarized remind the participants that they will have chances to think more about the benefits and barriers as the session progress. A statement such as, “we can see that there are many potential benefits to [topic], and there are also some barriers. As we go through the material today we can work together to build a list of principles that will help make [topic] effective and lead to these benefits and address your goals. Also we will note ways to try and reduce the barriers or avoid them.”

Rationale for Benefits and Barriers Exercise

The reason for doing this exercise is not just for the participants to think about their own particular teaching or parenting goals and obstacles but for the group leader to understand each individual participant’s viewpoint. During this discussion you will become aware of any possible misunderstandings about some aspect of normal child development, the nature of their goals for themselves or the children, or what family or school factors or philosophy may interfere with a participant’s motivation to use the approach. This information will help you as group leader know what questions to ask when mediating the vignettes and facilitating discussions. For example, when talking about a particular coaching method shown on the video vignette the group leader might address ways to use the method in large classrooms with limited time available or multiple children. Or, if there is a lack of understanding of typical child development, the group leader can talk about normal developmental differences in children’s language development, emotional regulation, ability to share, or wait, and temperament as well as what strategy might be most useful to meet a particular goal for the teacher or parent. Or, help the participants tailor the particular strategy being discussed to a particular child’s social, emotional or language level. For example, when discussing descriptive commenting, tailoring for a child with language delays by engaging in more modeling, prompting, limiting number of words, and using repetition and imitation.

Group leaders will address every new topic with this collaborative Benefits and Barriers exercise. This is an important opportunity for you to understand where your workshop participants are coming from before introducing the content details of the strategy being learned. Participants will benefit greatly from sharing important insights, knowledge, and their experiences with each other. This will build group support and trust which in turn will allow you explore in more depth the discussions of the vignettes and set up of the role play practices.

Download: Hot Tips for Leading the Benefits and Barriers Exercise

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Evaluation of the Incredible Beginnings® Program delivered remotely in Powys, Wales

Our friends at the Powys Teaching Health Board have shared with us their evaluation of the Incredible Years Incredible Beginnings® program, delivered remotely during 2021-2023. The Powys team evaluated 5 Incredible Years courses delivered remotely online with a total of 39 participants.

The programs were delivered by a variety of local agencies, including advisory teachers, specialist CAMHs staff and a specialist Children’s Team officer. Outcomes were evaluated using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, the Teacher/Childcare Provider Practices Inventory, and participant workshop satisfaction questionnaires.

Participants who completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire reported a statistically significant reduction in their perception of child difficulties (emotional problems, hyperactivity, conduct problems, and peer problems).

Participants who completed the Teacher/Childcare Provider Practices Inventory Checklist reported an increase in their use of positive teacher practices.

Highlights from the evaluation report:

Participants who completed the Incredible Beginnings Workshop Satisfaction Questionnaire highly rated their satisfaction with the program.

All staff reported that the teaching strategies and the techniques they had learned and put into practice were useful or extremely useful: ‘Some fantastic strategies and ideas to feed back to our setting and already have put in place.’

Specific areas of the programme were noted: ‘In my setting I found the managing separation anxiety, emotional coaching and use of distraction and ignoring most useful …’

‘One of the things that have been a huge help to myself is the distraction and ignoring technique.’

‘The most important part for me was definitely the strategies of how to get a child to calm and cool down as that is a big problem … that was very useful to me’. The ‘use of puppets to support emotional development’ was also mentioned.

Participants valued the focus on building positive relationships: ‘I think its helped me approach a child whose behaviour has been challenging in a different way. Giving a child the opportunity to talk through a problem.’

‘I also have used the building positive relationships with parents very helpful.’

‘I feel I have been able to use the tools provided in these sessions to build better relationships with the children but also the parents and have … a new found confidence …’

The programme was very helpful for new members of staff: ‘The programme was a huge success, from starting this course back in November with having not a huge amount of experience in childcare and not being qualified I have been able to take away a large amount of what I have learned.’

Powys County Council, in conjunction with Powys Teaching Health Board are now offering a rolling programme of Incredible Beginnings courses for childcare staff.

Read the evaluation: 2021-2023 Evaluation of the Incredible Beginnings Program Delivered Remotely in Powys

Join us for Incredible Beginnings Program facilitator training – online!

Incredible Beginnings® Group Leader Online Tele-Session Training
Dates: April 11th, 13th, 18th, 20th, 25th, & 27th, 2023, 8:00am-11:15am US PST
Venue: Online (Zoom)
Led by: Kathleen Corrigan, M.Ed.
Cost: $930 per person
April 2023 Incredible Beginnings Training Brochure And Registration Form

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Families First continues their incredible work supporting families in Florida!

Since 2004, the UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI’S FAMILIES FIRST PROGRAM, funded by The Children’s Trust, has successfully provided evidence-based, relationship-focused, culturally competent, family strengthening parenting services for parents and caregivers with young children (birth to age 3) throughout Miami-Dade County. Goals include improving the system of care and building resources for parents, strengthening families and promoting optimal child health and development, ensuring the delivery of high-quality standardized parenting activities, ensuring that activities are culturally competent and sensitive, and enhancing parent and community involvement to optimize parent resources. Project activities are based on best- practice concepts from child development theory and research that supports the importance of promoting positive parent-child relationships to facilitate optimal child development.

Program Prevention and Intervention Activities

FAMILIES FIRST partners with over 20 community organizations, childcare facilities, and health care sites to implement and evaluate evidence-based, culturally competent parenting activities. Although enrollment is County-wide, many of the groups are conducted in neighborhoods that include: low-income high-risk families, teen mothers, and families of children with substance abuse issues and/or chronic health conditions. Services are offered in English and Spanish and groups are provided throughout the day to accommodate family interests, schedules, and needs.

Parenting Groups

FAMILIES FIRST offers FREE parenting groups for parents of children ages birth through 3 years throughout Miami-Dade County in both English and Spanish. Families First currently offers The Incredible Years Toddler Basic Parenting Program for parents/caregivers of children 1-3. Groups have broad enrollment outreach and are offered in community-based and childcare settings. This year, Families First will be offering the Incredible Years Baby Parenting Program.


Incredible Years Conversation Cards

For Parent Group leaders and parents, we have conversation card games that can be a fun way to support and enhance the parenting programs.

Parents Conversation Cards: Incredible Parents Ask Each Other

This card game can be used to facilitate discussion about parenting strategies and goals. It can be played with Incredible Years parent groups or with friends, group buddies, or between partners. 

During parenting groups, group leaders can introduce the Incredible Parents Conversation Cards mid-way through the program and then play it again on the last night as part of the final session celebration. The card game can also be given to parents as a prize to take home.

Half of the Incredible Parents Conversation Cards have questions focusing on the foundational part of the Incredible Years Parenting Pyramid – play, coaching, praise, and encouragement – and the other half has questions about handling misbehavior.

Parents take turns asking each other questions such as: “how do you find time to schedule some personal time for yourself?”, “what is the most fun thing you do with your child?”, “what is one way you used the attention principle successfully?”, and “what are two behaviors you look for when doing Incredible Years social coaching?”

Examples of questions from the section on handling misbehavior include: “how do you stay calm when using the ignoring strategy?”, “what are two good consequences for 5-6 year olds?”, and “what is one principle you have learned in Incredible Years that you have used successfully?”

Kids and Parents Conversation Cards

For parents of school age children aged 8 and older, we have Incredible Years Kids and Parents Conversation cards. This fun conversation game includes two card decks, one used by the child and the other used by parents. The adult and child take turns asking a question while the other answers. Example parent deck questions include, “what do you like to do best with me?”, “what are two important household rules?”, “what is the best way I can help with your homework?”, “what do you say to yourself to stay calm?”, “what is the hardest part about being a kid?”, “what would be the menu of your ultimate birthday dinner?” Example child deck questions include, “what can I do to earn a reward?”, “is it ever okay to tell a lie?”, “what is the story behind my name?”, “what do you like to do best with me?”, “what was I like as a preschooler?”, “when do you think I can baby-sit?”, “are there any projects we can work on together?”

Watch a video clip of game play:

Please visit our website to learn more about our Incredible Years Conversation cards!

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Celebrating Incredible Years® implementation in Slovenia!

Incredible Years® Parenting Programs began in Slovenia in March 2015, for prevention and early intervention of conduct problems in children. To date, IY has trained 124 parent group leaders in Slovenia, and over 2000 parents have been reached with Incredible Years® Parenting Programs.

In 2018, the first Slovenian group leaders were trained to implement the Incredible Years® Teacher Classroom Management program. To date, IY has trained 40 teacher group leaders in Slovenia, and approximately 300 teachers have been reached with the IY TCM program.

This fall, Incredible Years® Program Developer Carolyn Webster-Stratton, PhD, prepared a video presentation for an event held on October 10th and 11th in Slovenia, with the Slovenian Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education, as well as Ministry of Work, Families, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.

In her presentation, Carolyn focused on the Incredible Years® Teacher programs (Teacher Classroom Management, Incredible Beginnings®, and the Teacher Autism program), and how the IY Teacher programs can be used to help support young children’s social & emotional competence and school readiness.

Incredible Years® Program Developer Carolyn Webster-Stratton discusses the Incredible Years® Teacher Training Programs

An estimated 70-100 people were planned to attend the event in Slovenia, including head teachers and school professionals, professionals from local mental health services, and Slovenian Incredible Years group leaders.

Congratulations to our friends in Slovenia for your commitment to supporting parents, teachers, and children in your community!

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Celebrating Invest in Kids’ incredible outcomes!

Our friends at Invest in Kids in Denver, Colorado, have recently shared with us their 2021-2022 outcomes evaluation report for the suite of Incredible Years® programs they support throughout the state of Colorado – Classroom Dina Dinosaur School, Teacher Classroom Management (TCM), and the Preschool BASIC Parenting Program.

Highlights from the Invest in Kids 2021-2022 Report of The Incredible Years® in Colorado

 by Erin Albrecht, Ph.D., Data and Evaluation Manager, Invest in Kids

Invest in Kids (IIK) is excited to share that the 2021-2022 Report of The Incredible Years® (IY) in Colorado is now available! This report features teacher, parent, and facilitator stories, demographic information about the students, teachers, and parents that were served by IY programming in Colorado last year, as well as the outcomes for Dinosaur School, Teacher Classroom Management (TCM), and the Preschool BASIC Parent Program.

Key program outcomes include statistically significant gains in the following: 

  • Dinosaur School and TCM students’ Social-Emotional Competence, including Academic Skills, Emotion Regulation, and Prosocial Communication
  • Dinosaur School students’ Social-Emotional Skills 
  • TCM Teachers’ Positive Management Strategies, use of Incentives, Social Emotional Learning Support, Confidence, and Planning and Support
  • Parents use of Appropriate Discipline, Clear Expectations, and Positive Parenting practices
  • Parents use of Harsh Discipline and Inconsistent Discipline 

IIK-IY staff at Invest in Kids partnered with Colorado communities across 21 counties to support the delivery of IY for parents, teachers, and young children. Dinosaur School, TCM, and Parent Program were delivered in school and community-based settings to 5,815 children, 437 teachers and educational staff, 73 Parent Program Facilitators, and 470 Parent Program participants with coaching and technical support from Invest in Kids. 

Follow the link here to explore the 2021-22 report and learn more about the evaluation and IIK’s support for high-quality delivery of IY across the state of Colorado. Please email Erin Albrecht with any questions about this report.

Cheers to the incredible team at Invest in Kids supporting high-fidelity implementation of Incredible Years programs in Colorado!

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Celebrating the implementation of Incredible Years parenting program in Lithuania

In the fall of 2020, the Lithuanian Institute of Hygiene launched the implementation of the Incredible Years Preschool Basic Parenting Program, with financing by the 2014-2021 European Economic Area Health grant. In just two years, 42 group leaders have been trained to implement Preschool Basic, with 16 group leaders having already completed Basic Parent Group Leader certification!

On September 13th, 2022, the Ministry of Health of the Republic Lithuania, together with input from the Institute of Hygiene, organized a conference with municipal authorities, administrators and decision-makers, “Adaptation and implementation of the Incredible Years program in Lithuania,” to raise awareness of the Incredible Years program and encourage further delivery of parents groups, with the goal of inspiring additional municipalities to implement IY.

Incredible Years Program Developer Carolyn Webster-Stratton, PhD, delivered a welcome video to the group: Celebrating Lithuania’s Achievements Using The Incredible Years® (IY) Parent Programs:

Approximately 160 attendees participated in the conference. During the conference, members of the Institute of Hygiene team who were instrumental in launching IY in Lithuania, Rolanda Valinteliene and Katažyna Labanienė, presented fundamental principles of the Incredible Years program and the progress of their implementation project. Municipalities implementing the program presented the practical first steps needed to launch IY groups. Parents were also invited to share their experiences after finishing the parent group and the impact it has had on their relationship with their children.

We are so proud of the great work the Institute of Hygiene team is doing implementing the Incredible Years in Lithuania! We are so impressed with your commitment to ensuring sustainable implementation with high program fidelity. We look forward to the continued roll-out of Incredible Years, with additional municipalities, and with the launch of IY School Age parenting groups!

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Implementing the Incredible Beginnings® program in Rhode Island: Prevention & early intervention in early childhood education centers and preschools

IY Mentor Stephanie Shepard Umaschi

Our incredible Mentor in Rhode Island, Stephanie Shepard Umaschi, PhD, Asst. Professor Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown Medical School, and Director at Bradley Hospital Center for Evidence Based Practice has recently shared with us an update on the implementation of the Incredible Beginnings® program in Rhode Island.

Incredible Beginnings® (IB) was added to the suite of Incredible Years programs offered in Rhode Island in 2017, with the goal of providing professional development that would help to improve the quality of early childhood education in Rhode Island.

Between 2017 and 2019, 80 early childhood educators received the Incredible Beginnings® program training.  Pre- post- results as measured by the Teacher/Childcare Provider Checklist were very positive.

Teacher reports of satisfaction with the Incredible Beginnings® program were very strong, as well (range = 1: not satisfied to 7: highly satisfied).

When covid hit, the team switched to providing the Incredible Beginnings® program and TCM programs online, and were able to provide 43 early childhood educators with virtual Incredible Beginnings® program training.

Providing the program online offered some benefits for the teachers, including being able to offer the IB classes in the evenings or Saturday mornings, eliminating the need for substitutes & reducing barriers to attendance, and making it easier to reach teachers throughout Rhode Island.

Teachers reported finding virtual Incredible Beginnings® classes convenient and appreciated the opportunity to connect with other teachers, but did miss getting together in-person.  Teachers found role-plays more difficult and uncomfortable to do in the online format, but really liked using the breakout rooms in Zoom.

Cheers to Stephanie Shepard Umaschi and the team of Incredible Years program providers in Rhode Island for your commitment to your community!

Visit our website to learn more about the Incredible Beginnings® program.

Join us for Incredible Beginnings Group Leader training – online this October!

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Carolyn Webster-Stratton delivers keynote lecture on IY Autism Program

On May 15, 2022, Incredible Years Program Developer Dr. Carolyn Webster-Stratton presented a keynote lecture to students at Seattle Pacific University, “Incredible Years Programs and Adaptations for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).”

This 90 minute presentation briefly summarizes the Incredible Years Basic Parent Program and highlights how this program lead to the adaptations of the Incredible Years Parent and Teacher Programs for Children with ASD. Examples of video vi­gnettes are shown to demonstrate how the ASD program is used to promote parent and teacher collaborations, problem solving, and developmentally appropriate practices. Academic, social, persistence and emotional coaching teaching and parenting methods are discussed, as well as the importance of imitation, sensory and pretend play, nonverbal gestures, and visual supports. The rationale for the ABCs of behavior change, prompting, and spotlighting for enhancing the development of children with ASD is reviewed.

In this presentation, Dr. Webster-Stratton shares how to use the Incredible Years Autism programs:

• To adapt elements of the basic IY parenting program for children with ASD.

• To integrate video modeling, experiential and self-reflective learning to enhance parent and teacher optimal interactions with children

• To tailor the verbal and nonverbal communication methods according to the specific language and play developmental levels of each child.

• To build teacher and parent support networks to manage children’s behavior problems.

View the Incredible Years Autism Program presentation overview (PDF): Presentation on the Incredible Years® Autism Program