The Incredible Years® Blog


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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


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Jewish Family Services of Western New York – success supporting families

Jewish Family Services of Western New York (JFS) is committed to supporting families in their community, especially immigrants and refugees. They have been implementing Incredible Years parenting programs since 2014. JFS has shared with us outcomes data highlighting their success in providing culturally responsive parenting programs with families in their community.

Since 2014 JFS has served 350+ parents/caregivers using the Incredible Years parenting curriculum from:

  • Afghanistan, Angola, Burma, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Haiti, Iraq, Nepal, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, USA, & more
  • 80% female
  • 66% Primary Language other than English
  • 45% Cannot read or write in primary language
  • 51% unemployed
  • 80% earning less than $20K/year
  • 14% single parent

Of 120 participants surveyed since 2017:

  • 97% agreed the program helped them connect with other people
  • 98% agreed the program helped them improve their parenting skills
  • 97% agreed the program helped them learn more about their child’s development
  • 95% agreed the program helped them reach their goals for their family and themselves
  • 99% agreed the program increased their knowledge of where to go when they need something for themselves or their family
  • 97% agreed the program helped them with stress           

Comments from families who have participated in the Incredible Years classes with Jewish Family Services

OMG I had a big change. We learned so many different strategies to try with our kids, so we could try one strategy and it if doesn’t work, we can try another one. I really really love it. Over the 14 weeks I saw big changes with my son. I felt I should have known this program before, but it’s not too late.“ -Burmese mother of one

“I see that when I spend more time with my daughter, she feels more confident. The more I communicate with my children, the better I know them. Even though I gave birth to them, I don’t necessarily know them unless I spend time with them.” It’s like with our plants, the more we water them, the better they grow. If a child doesn’t have nurturing to grow, their life is more likely to be destructive. We have to be aware of this.” -Burmese mother of 4

“I noticed that as soon as I tell my son I have time to play, he drops his iPad. That really surprised me. I didn’t expect that, I didn’t think he would drop his iPad suddenly just to play with me. He never asks me to play because he knows I’m busy. But when I said to him, ‘Let’s play for 15 minutes,’ he was so happy and immediately dropped his iPad and said let’s play. It taught me I really want to make more time to play with him. And now I see, if I want him to spend less time on screens, I just need to give him my time.” -Burmese mother of 1

“Just having this group and a space to talk about things going on in our lives helps relieve some stress” -Congolese father of 5

“I really appreciate this program, I’ve learned a lot. For me and for my family’ there is a big difference. I’m so happy. It’s a big difference in my house. In the morning we would fight to get them to get dressed, eat their breakfast. Now I say, which shoes do you want to wear today and they say ‘these ones’ with no fighting. It’s helping me a lot.“ -Eritrean mother of 3

“I have peace inside with my kids. Before I screamed, I raised my voice, they didn’t listen to me, I just pushed them. I didn’t know the tactics to encourage or model for them. But now with this program I learned a lot.” -Eritrean mother of 4

“Before I just gave my kids things to do and left them. Now they say to me, ‘Mommy turn off your phone, it’s time to play, let’s do a puzzle,’ and I’m making time for it. That time is really important for me. I didn’t realize before how important it is to spend that time with my kids.” -Eritrean mother of 4

“I was not close with my kids before. Instead of hanging out with them I was hanging out with my friends. But now I’m spending time with my kids, playing with my kids, taking them outside. I wasn’t giving them a lot of attention before, but now I’m seeing a big difference. They listen to me, I listen to them, we just have peace in our house.”  -Eritrean mother of 3

JFS commitment to supporting immigrant and refugee families in their community

From left to right:
-Merhawit “Rahwa” Abebe, Eritrean Community Liaison, Tigrinya-speakers
-Jill Gavin, JFS Community Education Manager and lead IY Group Leader
-Salima Panahzada, Afghan Community Liaison, Dari-speakers
-Nanlae Laewai, Burmese Community Liaison, Burmese-speakers
Also in photo, Alina, daughter of Salima.

Jewish Family Services of Western New York offers groups throughout the year based on community need. This spring, JFS Incredible Years groups are:

  • Toddler curriculum with Burmese moms
  • School Age curriculum with Dari-speaking moms from Afghanistan
  • Pre-School curriculum with Spanish, French, and English speaking parents from various countries
  • School-Age curriculum with English, Spanish, and Swahili speaking parents

and

  • Interpreter training for the following languages: Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Spanish, Somali, Swahili, Tamil, Urdu

To date, Jewish Family Services has trained Amharic, Arabic, Burmese, Dari, French, Karen, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, MaiMai, Swahili, Somali, and Tigrinya language-speaking interpreters.

Thanks to Jewish Family Services of Western New York for sharing their incredible work!

Learn more about Jewish Family Services of Western New York on their website: www.jfswny.org

The work of Jewish Family Services of Western New York is funded by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services and the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County.

Read IY Program developer Carolyn Webster-Stratton’s article: Affirming Diversity and Achieving Cultural Sensitivity When Delivering IY Programs


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Outcomes from IY Parent & Child programs RCT in Spain

The University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU in Gipuzkoa, Spain, has evaluated the implementation of the Incredible Years Basic Parent and Small Group Dina Child program intervention with families involved in child welfare services in their community.

They have shared the results of their randomized control trial with us.

The research team at the University of the Basque Country, Spain

The Incredible Years Parenting and Child Treatment Programs: A Randomized Controlled Trial in a Child Welfare Setting in Spain

  • by Ignacia Arruabarrena et al.

This study presents the results of the first pilot implementation and evaluation of the Incredible Years program in Spain. Our aim was to test the effectiveness of IY in a sample of maltreating and at-risk families in the context of Child Welfare and Child Protection Services. We hypothesized that IY will be effective in reducing child behavior problems, parenting stress and risk of physical child abuse, and improving parenting skills and parent psychological wellbeing. We also went on to explore whether post-intervention changes were maintained after the intervention ended, the influence of sociodemographic characteristics of the families and program´s attendance on intervention effects, and mediating mechanisms for parenting practices and parenting stress as predictors of child abuse potential.

One hundred and eleven families with 4- to 8-year-old children living at home were recruited from Child Welfare (CW) and Child Protection Services (CPS) of the region of Gipuzkoa (Spain). CW/CPS caseworkers recruited families with the following inclusion criteria: (1) there was a substantiated report or significant risk for child maltreatment, (2) children displayed significant behavior problems, and (3) parents had significant difficulties managing their children´s behavior. 

Families were randomly allocated to IY or to a Control group who received standard services. Baseline, post-intervention, and 12-month follow-up assessments were compared. Results showed that compared to the Control group, the IY intervention made a significant positive difference in parents´ reported use of praise/incentives, and a significant reduction in reported use of inconsistent discipline, parenting stress, depressive symptomatology, and perception of child behavior problems. A full serial mediation effect was found between participation in IY, positive changes in parenting practices, subsequent reduction of parenting stress, and final reduction of child abuse potential. No moderating influence on IY effects was found (for child gender and age, parent gender, educational level and country of origin, and economic difficulties in the family). Findings provide evidence that transporting IY with fidelity is feasible in Child Welfare and Child Protection Services in Spain.

Arruabarrena, I., Rivas, G. R., Cañas, M., and Paúl, J. D. (2022). The Incredible Years Parenting and Child Treatment Programs: A Randomized Controlled Trial in a Child Welfare Setting in Spain. Psychosocial Intervention, 31(1), 43 – 58. https://doi.org/10.5093/pi2022a2


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Using the Wally books to promote children’s social skills & emotional competence and strengthen their resilience

The Wally problem-solving books are a fun and interactive way for parents and teachers to introduce children to problem-solving! Children can pretend to be a “detective” who is trying to solve a problem.

Wally’s Detective Book for Solving Problems at School features 28 different problem solving cases Wally encounters at school. Problem scenarios include: being left out by peers, being teased and bullied by other kids, being poked, feeling unpopular, losing at a game, forgetting to do homework, having trouble with writing, stealing, and not feeling liked by a teacher.

Wally’s Detective Book for Solving Problems at Home has 22 different problem-solving cases Wally encounters at home. Examples include: being scared to stay overnight at a friend’s house, sibling difficulties with sharing, parents fighting, losing a belonging, a pet dying, lying about a mistake, not feeling liked, being left  out of play and feeling discouraged that learning something new is too difficult.

When reading these books, the child picks a problem-solving case to try to solve. Start by helping the child understand the feelings of the characters involved in the problem scenario.  Then, ask your child to think about possible solutions to the problem. You might give the child a detective hat and magnifying glass to add to the fun of playing detective.

For young children, or children new to thinking about problem-solving, you may need to suggest or model some possible ideas for solutions. For example, you could suggest doing something that makes you feel good, or, getting help, or apologizing, asking to help someone, or, getting help, or, sharing, or, going to a quiet place to calm down.  Make the problem-solving game fun, and praise the child’s ideas for solutions: “Wow! You are a great detective! You are thinking of so many ideas!” After doing this you can go to the back of the books to see what Wally’s ideas are for solving this particular problem-solving case. 

Children also like to act out or role-play their solutions. Have fun asking the child to show you or act out how they would solve the problem. The parent, teacher, or another child can play the part of the child who has the problem in the problem-solving case. Children can use puppets to help act out their solutions. This acting is not only fun, but it helps children better imagine and understand the possible consequences of their solutions. When you are ready to act out or role-play the solutions, make sure to select a friendly solution for the practice! Start your role-play practice after the problem has occurred so that you are not modeling the negative behavior: “Okay, I’ll be Molly and you can be Wally. Let’s pretend that Molly just teased your puppet and you can try the solution of saying ‘please stop.’”

As children become comfortable generating solutions, you can ask them some of the following questions to help them learn to evaluate solutions:

  • Do you think that solution is fair?
  • Does that solution lead to good feelings? How would you feel if someone did that?
  • Is that solution safe?
  • What do you think would happen next if you tried that solution?
  • Is there another solution that might work?
  • What solution do you think is the best one to try first?
  • If that solution didn’t work, what would you do next?
Click on above to view larger image

As you read each problem-solving case, the parent or teacher can ask the child to explore how the characters in the story might feel in that situation. Help the child name the feelings. Labeling feelings is key to children learning better regulation of their own emotions. Only when children can put a word to a feeling and express it to someone else can they begin to feel some self-control over the situation. Parents and teachers can encourage the child to emotionally connect to the scenario – “Have you ever had a problem like that or felt that way about something? How did you solve it?”

Parents and teachers can also use the problem-solving case scenarios in the Wally books to help normalize problem situations that can produce uncomfortable feelings. For children who are feeling anxious, fearful, guilty, sad, or alone, talking about those uncomfortable feelings through Wally’s problems can help scaffold children learning how to manage and cope with those feelings. Talking about feelings and practicing solutions help Wally solve those problems can help children believe in their own ability to handle uncomfortable emotions in challenging situations, and to build their confidence and resilience.

For teachers, Wally’s Detective Book for Solving Problems at School is available in a large size board book that makes it possible to read and discuss the problem-solving cases during large group circle time with children.

The Wally Detective Books (set of 4) are available in English, Spanish, and Norwegian. Visit our website for purchasing information.

See Carolyn Webster-Stratton’s article How Parents Can Build Emotional Resilience in Young Children (3-8 years) Who are Anxious – The Do’s and Don’ts for tips for how parents and teachers can help children who are anxious build their emotional resilience.


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Wally Problem Solver gets vaccinated and helps other children ages 5-8 years

  • by Carolyn Webster-Stratton, PhD, Incredible Years Program Developer

Wally recently spent the day at Vashon Elementary School spreading his superpower magic with children ages 5-8 years. He received his vaccine and helped other children who received their vaccine that day to stay calm.

First, Wally takes deep breaths & stays calm using his super power breathing and thinks of his happy place…

and it is over before he knows it!

He choses his favorite Band-Aids – Star Wars and Frozen…

and gets a high five from the vaccinator.  His mother tells him he has super powerful calm-down muscles and is strong and brave and is helping to keep others healthy. He is very proud!  

It was a fun day at Vashon Elementary. One hundred forty children were vaccinated with their first dose. The Vashon community team worked on this being a fun day for the children so they will be eager to come back for their second injection. 


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How Parents Can Build Emotional Resilience in Young Children Who Are Anxious

Carolyn Webster-Stratton, PhD

by Carolyn Webster-Stratton, Ph.D.

Prior to the Covid pandemic, about one in five children have struggled with feelings of fear, hopelessness, and sadness at some time during their development. When children feel anxious, their brains are flooded with feelings of danger or future threat. These powerful feelings and anxious thoughts can lead to emotional dysregulation with physical and behavioral outcomes such as:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Dizzy or shakiness
  • Rapid breathing or shortness of breath
  • Stomach aches, nausea, vomiting
  • Anger, defiance
  • Irritability
  • Tantrum outbursts
  • Crying

Sometimes these symptoms that involve children’s thoughts and feelings are called internalizing disorders. For many children these fears or worries won’t last. However, when the symptoms are intense or persist longer than 1-2 months, they can interfere with the child’s ability to attend school, to be away from parents, to focus and concentrate, to get adequate sleep, or to make friends and engage in social activities.

Although our understanding of the impact of the pandemic on children is still evolving, it seems that despite the uncertainty and challenges of Covid, 60-70% of children have been remarkedly resilient, emotionally regulated, and able to cope with the uncertainty and ongoing stress.  On the other hand, since the pandemic, there has been an upsurge in reported rates of child anxiety and internalizing symptoms. Current estimates show as many as 30-40% of children and adolescents are experiencing anxiety, depression, or stress.  Certain groups are more at risk for anxiety disorders and are more vulnerable to the added impact of the pandemic: those living in poverty, those with unstable housing, and those with a prior history of developmental delays or mental health issues regardless of their socioeconomic background. How can we help these at-risk children and promote their “protective factors”, their strengths and resilience?

IY Program Developer Carolyn Webster-Stratton, Ph.D. has written a new article with lots of tips to help parents help their children who are anxious. Here are some examples:

Do accept and validate your child’s fears and worries and help them learn how to manage them. When your child expresses uncomfortable feelings, such as fear and worry, name these feelings and what the experience is that may be causing them. “You are sad and scared because your granny is sick. Is that right?”  This validation shows acceptance.  It is nonjudgmental and helps your child feel understood.  Combine your validation of their feeling with gentle suggestions for a coping statement that helps them face their fears. This approach assures your support and understanding of the child’s fears and shows your belief that your child can manage the situation and the feelings.  For example, saying, “Maybe we can draw a picture for her that will help her know we love her. This will make her happy.”  Or, “I see you are afraid to ask your friend to play (validate), let’s practice what you can say (coping)?”   

Do use positive forecasting. Predict for your child that things will be eventually get better. “I can see you are afraid to go back to school, but your friends will be so happy to see you. What might you tell them when you see them?” Or, “You look worried and lonely, but soon you will be playing soccer and will have fun.” It is important to note that positive forecasting is showing your child a possible positive outcome, but still allows your child to have their unhappy feelings in the moment. 

Do help your child to be aware of their positive and comfortable feelings.  When your child is acting in ways that are not fearful, give attention to these positive emotions and link the positive emotion to the child’s particular experience. For example, saying, “You look happy when you are playing a game with your friend.” Or, “You are so patient figuring out how to put that puzzle together. You are staying calm and trying another idea. I think you will solve that puzzle problem.” Or, “You seem relaxed reading that book.” “You are brave to try that high slide!”  The goal is to focus on and give attention to your child’s positive emotion feeling states such as being happy, patient, calm, confident, brave, or persistent with a difficult task.  Children learn to recognize and express these comfortable feelings in themselves. Then they can use them in their own positive self-talk as well as in communication with others. They recognize that they are not always fearful, angry, or anxious and remember the situations that lead to more comfortable feelings.

Do use puppets to enhance young children’s learning of self-regulation strategies.  Children love pretend play and can learn well using imaginary situations. Pretend play helps them understand what others, including a puppet, might feel. Your child can practice emotional self-regulation strategies to help the puppet calm down, and then when your child is upset, your puppet could prompt your child to use the same strategies. Your child may be more responsive to the puppet’s coaching than to your parent voice.

You can use puppets to promote your child’s practice of self-regulation calming thoughts and memories, feeling talk, and breathing methods. You can tailor the puppets’ experiences to situations that are real for your child. For example, your puppet could be stressed at school, afraid to talk about making a mistake, nervous about meeting new people, or having a vaccination. Your child will likely show empathy for the puppet’s feelings. The puppets can ask your child for ideas to respond to each of these situations. You can prompt your child to show the puppet what to do to calm down and feel better. This helps children to normalize their own anxious thoughts and feelings around a stressful event and opens up further possibility of your child feeling safe to talk about their own fears and worries with others.

See all of Carolyn Webster-Stratton’s tips for how parents can help their children who are anxious in her new article: How Parents Can Build Emotional Resilience in Young Children (3-8 years) Who are Anxious – The Do’s and Don’ts


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New book “Helping Preschool Children with Autism” now available!

This book provides parents and teachers of children on the autism spectrum (aged 2-5 years) with strategies for promoting children’s optimal social, emotional, language, and academic competence.  It includes verbal and nonverbal strategies to help caregivers to enter in children’s attention spotlight and expand their interest and joy in relationships with others.  The book includes sample adult-child social and emotion coaching scripts for interacting with children and suggestions for modeling, initiating, and prompting social behaviors and joint activities.  Also included are other connection and communication strategies such as sensory games, visual prompts and pictures, gestures, pretend and puppet play, and intentional communication.

This book is a great resource for parents and teachers, even if they are not in an Incredible Years group. The book includes scripts of the naturally occurring parent-child and teacher-child interactions found in the IY Autism program vignettes. We hope that these scripts will give parents and teachers ideas for how to get in children’s attention spotlight to communicate, model, prompt, and set up joint attention practices in everyday activities. Below are sample pages from the book featuring the scripts.

Being Child-Directed & Getting in Your Child’s Spotlight

Click sample pages above to view them larger

Descriptive Commenting and Visual Prompts to Build Language

Click sample pages above to view them larger

Spotlighting tips for parents and teachers

Just like the Incredible Years Autism Programs for parents and teachers, this book includes spotlighting tips to help parents and teachers expand and enhance children’s attention and communication skills.

Click sample pages above to view them larger

Please visit our website for information on ordering the book Helping Preschool Children with Autism: Parents and Teachers as Partners


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Affirming Diversity and Achieving Cultural Sensitivity When Delivering IY Programs

IY Program Developer Carolyn Webster-Stratton
  • by Carolyn Webster-Stratton, MSN, MPH, Ph.D, Incredible Years Program Developer

Over the past 2 decades we have seen many research reports showing the effectiveness of the Incredible Years (IY) programs with culturally diverse populations. Randomized control group studies (RCTs) using IY Parent Programs with multicultural groups have been conducted in Finland, Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and with new immigrant Head Start families in United States. These studies attest to the ability of the IY programs to be transported in culturally sensitive ways to achieve positive outcomes such as more nurturing parent-child interactions, increased child social and emotional competence, and reduced child behavior problems.  Pre/post data showing positive results has also been reported by Estonia (with both Estonian and Russian speaking families), Slovenia, and New Zealand Māori and Pacific Island populations (see the Incredible Years library of research on our website at: https://incredibleyears.com/for-researchers/research-library/)

It is noteworthy that in a diverse sample of 634 families with children enrolled in Head Start (19% African American 11% Latino, 12% Asian, 50% Caucasian), ethnicity analyses with an RCT design revealed few differences across ethnic groups according to observed parent behavior at home. All groups made significant improvements in hypothesized directions with high levels of satisfaction with the program and similar attendance.

It is an immensely rewarding opportunity to bring new perspectives about effective child management parenting practices and child development principles to parents from different cultural backgrounds. IY group leaders who have a multicultural perspective are caring and collaborative in their approach, take the time to listen and understand parents’ perspectives and try to make the material relevant for each parents’ goals and family circumstances. They recognize the importance of native language, family traditions, rituals and religious holidays, and make the parents’ culture visible by calling on them to share their cultural experiences during discussions.  Collaborating with parents in this way acknowledges parents’ dignity, self-respect, and self-control. This is especially important if parents are feeling low self-confidence, stress, and uncertainty about the appropriateness of the IY Program for their family and culture.

Affirming diversity means that cultural, linguistic, and other family differences are acknowledged, accepted, respected, and used as a basis for learning and teaching. The collaborative culturally sensitive approach has the added advantage of reducing participant attrition rates, increasing motivation and commitment, and reducing resistance. Working together with families in this partnership way will enhance parents’ confidence, build family support systems, and strengthen communities by highlighting that parents’ goals for their children and families transcend culture, thereby providing mutual understanding and supportive community networks.

Here are a few tips about IY group leaders affirming diversity and being culturally responsive when delivering the IY programs.

• Respect and affirm cultural differences and promote a supportive, non-judgmental & culturally sensitive group atmosphere​.

• Collaborate with each group to individualize the group rules they want to adopt.

• Acknowledge and affirm each parent’s individual goals for themselves, their children, and their families. Be careful not to make assumptions that entire cultures have a homogenous set of values. Recognize the heterogeneity of experiences and beliefs that exists within any given culture.

• Acknowledge that you bring your own bias to the group and be willing to listen to parents and learn from them. 

• Make culture visible and invite discussion and sharing of cultural identity and recognize its importance in relationship building. Acknowledge celebrations, and traditions from different cultures.

• When possible, select video vignettes that represent diverse populations, family structures and the cultural background of your groups.

• Understand that cultural responsiveness is more important than the surface level cultural adaptations of showing vignettes that represent the particular families in your group.  Rather it is the “deeper structural” principles that guide the collaborative delivery of the program that ensure its cultural sensitivity and relevance for families. For example, use the vignettes to help parents discover key behavior management principles of parent interactions and then apply these strategies to each parents’ individual goals for themselves and their children.

• Make culturally relevant metaphors to explain developmental theories and concepts.

• Use multi-cultural puppets and select a realistic selection of toys as well as diverse books, songs, games, and food snacks that represent the cultural and socio-economic background and experiences of the participants in your groups.​

• Respond flexibly about number of sessions shown and add more than the minimum required number of required group sessions for families who find the content new and need more time to understand, process, practice, and integrate the new approaches.

• When possible, have group leaders who represent the culture of the group​.

• Give parents the message that linguistic diversity is a resource. Learn to say parents’ names correctly, check in to be sure they understand the meaning of words, and encourage practice using the newly learned coaching skills in their own language. Avoid correcting parents’ English. Use phrases from their own language yourself and write them on flip chart.

• Use trained interpreters in the IY program and work collaboratively with them so that the meaning of the program content and vignettes is understood​ and that they translate in a collaborative manner. Translate handouts, home activities, and key points into participants’ own languages.

• Understand socioeconomic and educational and reading barriers.

• Review weekly evaluations and make adjustments according to learning needs and parents’ personal goals.

• Empower parents to help their children to develop a healthy ethnic and cultural identity.

• Advocate for and with parents so they can support their children’s learning at school also at home.

See chapter 11 “Affirming Diversity: Maintaining Program Fidelity While Achieving Cultural Sensitivity,” In Collaborating with Parents to Reduce Behavior Problems by Carolyn Webster-Stratton.

Download this article as a PDF here.


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Invest in Kids continues to provide incredible support to parents, teachers and children across Colorado

Invest in Kids partners with local communities to provide training and support for the implementation of Incredible Years® parent, child, and teacher programs. Their ongoing support promotes the sustainability of IY programs in Colorado, and ensures high-quality delivery of the programs designed to produce significant positive outcomes for parents, children, and teachers.

Invest in Kids has shared their report of 2020-2021 implementation of Incredible Years® programs. Despite COVID, Invest in Kids continued to offer coaching and support to group leaders through online peer coaching sessions.  Through this support, parent group leaders and teachers were able to pivot to offering the Incredible Years® parenting program and Classroom Dina child program curriculum online. Both parents and teachers reported improvement in children’s social and emotional skills. Parents participating in IY increased their use of positive parenting strategies and decreased harsh, inconsistent, and negative discipline strategies. Check out their blog below!  

Invest in Kids is excited to share that the 2020-2021 Report of The Incredible Years® (IY) in Colorado is now available! 

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

This report features the number of students, teachers, and parents that were served by IY programming in Colorado last year, as well as the outcomes for Dinosaur School students and Parent Program participants. This report also includes an Innovations section (see page 10), which documents the numerous ways in which the IIK-IY team flexibly and capably pivoted and modified their coaching supports for The Incredible Years® in response to the ongoing pandemic. 

In addition, the report provides some demographic information about the students, parents, teachers, and Parent Program Facilitators to describe who was served by the program during the 2020-21 program year. 

Key outcomes for the 2020-2021 program year include statistically significant gains in the following: 

  • Dinosaur School students’ Social-Emotional Competence, including Academic Skills, Emotion Regulation, and Prosocial Communication
  • Dinosaur School students’ Social-Emotional Skills 
  • 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 20 counties to support the delivery of IY for parents, teachers, and young children. Dinosaur School, Parent Program, and a TCM Book Study were delivered in school and community-based settings to 4,027 children, 399 teachers and educational staff, 67 Parent Program Facilitators, and 375 Parent Program participants with coaching and technical support from Invest in Kids. 

from the Invest In Kids 2020-2021 report: Supporting high-quality IY implementation

Follow the link here to dig into the 2020-21 report and learn more about IY, the IIK-IY evaluation, and Invest in Kids support for high-quality delivery of IY across the state of Colorado.

cheers to our friends at Invest in Kids!