Coaching parents, to help kids.
'To help kids thrive, coach their parents' reads the title of a recent article in the New York Times. It is based on the book by Paul Tough, 'Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why.'
The article refers to a research that was conducted in 1986 in a few of the poorest neighborhoods in Kingston, Jamaica. Its message was to help the children by supporting and coaching their parents. The researchers divided the families of 129 infants and toddles into groups. One group received home vistis focused on encouraging the parents to spend more time actively playing with their children: reading books, singing songs, playing peekaboo. Another group received a kilogram of milk-based nutritional supplement each week. The control group received nothing. The intervention lasted for 2 years. The researchers have followed the group of children since that time.
The intervention that was focused on encouraging the parents to play more with their children had most effect. Those children did better throughout their childhood, on IQ tests, aggressive behavior and self-control. As adults they earn currently an average of 25 percent more per year than the children whose parents did not receive the home visits.
More recent research has confirmed and has helped uncover how that changes takes place. It is by encouraging parents to reinforce small moments, such as face-to-face exchanges, that attachment, warmth and trust between parent and child is encouraged. It is these positive influences in children's early lives that have a profound effect on their noncognitive skills. These are a simple set of emotional and psychological habits and mind-sets that enable children to negotiate life effectively insed and outside of school: 'the ability to understand adn follow directions; to focus on a single activity for an extended period; to interact calmly with other students; to cope with disappointment and persevere through frustration.'
These skills, although harder to measure than skills like letter and number recognition are inordinately valuable in school.
To schedule an appointment call An at Chico Center for Psychotherapy, at (530) 321-2970