Quality screen time

New articles on raisingchildren.net.au are now available to help families strike the right balance with screen time.

Screens are part of our daily lives: watching TV and DVDs, playing computer games, using tablets and smartphones. With some planning, parents, carers and educators can ensure children’s screen time is quality time. There are benefits and risks to using these devices, so a healthy family lifestyle can include limits on daily screen time.

Read more on screen time.

New publication on Early Home Learning Study

The Early Home Learning Study (EHLS) was the precursor to smalltalk, an evidence-based parenting strategy that helps parents enhance the home-learning environment for their young children.

Prevention Science has published an article on the EHLS study and its findings: Impact of a Brief Group Intervention to Enhance Parenting and the Home Learning Environment for Children Aged 6–36 Months: a Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial

The EHLS study examined the effectiveness of an early home-learning intervention by using a rigorous cluster randomised controlled trial ‘in situ’. It was the first study of its kind in Australia and was conducted between 2009 and 2012. Over 2200 families experiencing disadvantage participated.

Now over 100 supported playgroup facilitators are delivering smalltalk across Victoria.

200 trained in Sweden, Norway next

Over 200 professionals in Sweden have been trained to deliver Parenting Young Children: a program developed by the Parenting Research Centre for parents with intellectual disability.

In 2016, 12 professionals in Norway were trained by two qualified Swedish trainers. And in 2017 and 2018 three more training events will be delivered in Norway.

The evidence-informed program helps parents strengthen their skills and confidence in the following areas:

  • basic child care skills
  • positive parent-child interactions
  • confidence in their ability to parent their children.

Parenting Young Children facts

  • Program translated into Swedish in 2011
  • Over 200 Swedish professionals trained
  • 2 Swedish trainers now fully qualified to deliver professional training
  • All trained professionals receive ongoing support from Swedish leaders, peer networks and Parenting Research Centre
  • Over 60 municipalities in Sweden offer the program to families
  • 12 professionals in Norway trained
  • 3 further training events scheduled for Norway in 2017 and 2018
  • New funding will help explore digitisation of the program in Norway and Sweden

The widespread implementation of Parenting Young Children in Sweden has been made possible through our collaboration with the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, Brock University in Canada, and the Samverkan-Utveckling-Föräldraskap Knowledge Centre (SUF Kunskapcentrum) disability support agency in Uppsala.

Funding for the project has been provided by the Swedish Government, with over 5 million Swedish Krona awarded in three separate grants from 2011 to 2016.

Read more about Parenting Young Children

Video to help with young children's sleep

The Parenting Research Centre is assisting with a Hunter New England Population Health and University of Newcastle study that is exploring ways of helping parents to manage their children’s sleep.

The study, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, examines the effect of increased opportunities for outdoor play periods on physical activity and sleep duration among children attending childcare centres.

We have been engaged to produce a short video explaining how much sleep young children need, why sleep is important, and basic strategies to improve child sleep. The video is part of an intervention designed to improve sleep in toddlers and preschoolers.

Approximately 40 parents participating in the study have been randomly selected to watch the video and receive a 30 minute phone call from a psychologist from the Parenting Research Centre to discuss ways to implement the strategies. Parents also receive two follow-up text messages to encourage use of the strategies.

This Hunter New England Population Health and University of Newcastle study is the first randomised controlled trial reporting on the impact of a sleep intervention on physical activity and sleep in preschool-age children. The study findings will inform future research and interventions examining the impact of sleep on children.

How Australians understand effective parenting

Warren Cann, Parenting Research Centre CEO, addressed this topic during a webinar on 12 September 2016, with Dr Nat Kendall-Taylor of FrameWorks Institute and Megan Keyes of Centre for Community Child Health.

They each examined how the Australian public understand child development and parenting compared with experts, following research conducted by the FrameWorks Institute.

Our Perceptions of parenting report draws on this research, painting a picture of the shared understandings, assumptions and patterns of reasoning that Australians draw upon to think about parenting.