Asuggests pointing parents to the positive aspects of their parent-child interactions can reduce the stress of mothers in poverty and improve their children’s cognitive development and behavior.
At birth, 675 children and their mothers from low-income, mostly Latino families were randomly assigned to either a control group of standard pediatric visits, a “building blocks” group that received monthly newsletters on parenting and toys, or the Video Interaction Project, a 30-minute session on top of their regular check-ups. The VIP parents were videotaped playing with and reading to their children at each session. A child development specialist reviewed the tape with the mom, pointing out positive interactions and ways to build on missed opportunities. The child received a book or toy; the mother was given the tape and a parenting pamphlet.
By age 3, children who had participated in the VIP program had significantly higher attention skills and lower levels of aggression and separation anxiety than those in the other two groups.
A version of this article appeared in the February 10, 2016 edition of Education Week as Child Development