The Incredible Years® Blog

Frequently Asked Questions about Online Delivery of IY Programs

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We are excited to hear about agencies that are working with families remotely – either to check in with individual sessions or to continue their on-going groups with online tele-sessions. We know that this is a big transition. Check out our FAQs for information on how to deliver online sessions the Incredible Years way.

I need to convert my in-person groups to on-line. Where do I start?

Webinars: We have developed a webinar/in-service, Implementing Online the Incredible Years Way, to help support agencies that are providing IY in a video tele-session format (either individually or in groups).

This webinar/in-service with IY program developer Dr. Carolyn Webster-Stratton covers how to assess whether a family is a candidate for an individual or group based on-line IY program based on their response to the Covid-19 pandemic, family needs, goals, and children’s responses.  The webinar reviews how to help families prepare for these video tele-sessions. The group leaders will learn the format for delivering the program including how to use the IY methods in a video tele-session, IY principles of video-based discussions, role play practices, number and length of sessions, and engage parents in experiential learning. Pertinent topics are discussed related to coping with social distancing for the parents themselves as well as their children as well as stress management. This webinar also allows time for questions, discussion and problem solving related to the specific population being address with the webinar participants.

Our next Implementing Online the Incredible Years Way webinar is coming up February 17. Please visit our website for registration information or contact Jamila Reid at for more info on this webinar.

Consultation: Hourly consultation with an IY accredited trainer is available for small groups of leaders (2-6 leaders) who would like support in leading groups on-line.  It is helpful when possible to provide the trainer with segments of videos of online program delivery, provided parent and teacher consent has been provided. Please contact Jamila Reid at for more info.

Self-study resources: See these two links for detailed tips on leading parent and child groups on-line.

 Hot Tips For IY Group Leaders Delivering Parent Programs Online

 Hot Tips For IY Group Leaders Delivering Child Programs Online

Website support for group leaders who are leading groups remotely: Our Resources for Group Leaders Working Remotely web page has tips for group leaders, handouts for parents and children, fillable homework record pages, stickers and tool awards to send to parents and children as well as fillable weekly and final evaluation forms.

How many sessions do I need to complete on-line, and how long should each session be?

Session length: Group leaders should collaborate with parents to determine optimal and realistic on-line session length and most appropriate time of day. In most cases for group delivery we recommend 60-90 minute sessions and 45-60 minutes for the individualized sessions. Most families are doing these calls from their own homes, with children present and finding uninterrupted time is challenging especially if they are working from home, doing home schooling or taking care of a sick family member. Many group leaders are delivering these to parents at night after children are in bed. Often at this time parents are tired and a shorter group time will be best to help parents manage fatigue and optimize learning. 

Number of sessions:  Based on our research regarding program dosage, Incredible Years groups have a minimum dosage recommendation. For in-person Basic Parent prevention low risk groups this is a minimum of 14, 2-hour sessions (28 hours) and for Basic Parent treatment/high-risk groups this is a minimum of 18-20, 2-hour sessions (36-40 hours).  Some groups will move more slowly through the material and will need more sessions to complete the program.  Since on-line sessions will be shorter than the usual 2-hour in-person groups, it will take more sessions/weeks to cover the same amount of parenting material.  Moreover, group leaders will also be discussing other family issues such as stress, depression, child anxiety, and family conflict related to the Covid virus situation. The number of sessions offered should be adjusted accordingly to offer at least the minimum number of hours for the type of group conducted (e.g., at least 28 hours for a Basic prevention group) and preferably more sessions.  While this may seem like a daunting number of weeks to work with a group, group leaders may be surprised to find that on-line groups have better parent attendance and that parents really welcome the sustained group support during this time of physical isolation and increased family stress. In some cases you might find it helpful to offer 1 hour sessions twice a week so you can complete this is in a shorter number of weeks and add more frequent weekly support.

Number of participants: It is recommended to have no more than 8 parents per on-line group.  Sometimes you will find 8 parents will involve more than 8 adults because partners and other caregivers in the home can join the on-line group. This is one of the silver linings of on-line home delivery of the program because all those caregivers involved with the child can be on the same page in their parenting approaches. For the treatment version of the program and higher risk families it is recommended to have 4-6 parents online. This allows the group leader to tailor the on-line practices to the developmental level of the child and nature of their language, play and behavior issues.

What materials will the parents or children need for on-line sessions?

For the parent IY BASIC programs it is helpful to send parents the “How I am Incredible” form and complete it ahead of time during your initial assessment interview.  During those initial interview calls you can find out if the parents have a printer or not. If they do have a printer you can send the weekly editable home activities, record sheets, refrigerator notes, thought cards, and brainstorm buzz sheets for each of the main topics ahead of time by email.  This way they can keep their notes on them during the session. If they don’t have a printer it will be necessary to send them each topic packet of materials in the mail ahead of time. You will also need to send them the parent book ahead of time so they can read the suggested chapters each week.  Parents will also need some of their child’s favorite toys, puppets, puzzles and books for use in the practices. 

For the child Dinosaur Small Group and Classroom programs it is helpful to send home via email some of the child dinosaur games, such as bingo, the crossword puzzle and maze handouts or other turtle or teasing shield templates, dot-to-dot games, self-encouragement bubble, calm down thermometer and some of the appropriate social skills, problem solving, anger management, solution lightbulbs and feeling graphics for each topic.  If parents don’t have printers then send these via postal mail ahead of time.  In addition, ask parents to have their children’s blocks, Legos or Duplos, puppets, favorite stuffed animals, or concentrating puzzles available. For each of the dinosaur topics you can tell parents which toys or art supplies, markers and writing books such as the feeling alphabet or secret pals blank books or interview sheets will be needed. In addition, parents are sent dinosaur stickers so they can reward the children for their participation on-line. As well parents are asked to prepare a small snack mid session for the snack break. 

What materials will the group leaders need?

Group leaders will need to have a computer to deliver this program. They can show the video vignettes by putting the vignettes they have chosen for the session on their computer monitor. This can be done with the DVD or USB. Recently we have started streaming our Baby, Toddler, Preschool Basic, School Age Basic, and Autism Parenting Programs, Dina Child Programs, and Teacher Classroom Management Program online so group leaders can access the program videos this way.  See our IY Online page for more information on program video streaming.

In addition group leaders will need their toys, puppets, Wally books and materials for each session topic such as laminated rules and solution cards in the detective kit, spinning wheel, calm down thermometer and examples of what completed activities look like such as the turtle puppet or anger shield. Encourage children to sent you pictures of their activities so you can share them on-line at the next session.   Be sure to dress your puppets differently for each session and have them share their own homework activity.

Download these FAQs for Online Delivery: FAQ’s For Online Delivery Of IY Programs

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