Families & the Community

Video Feedback Helps Stressed Parents Learn to Be More Positive With Their Kids

By Sarah D. Sparks — February 01, 2016 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Anyone who’s cared for a toddler or two knows that your own degree of work stress, worry, exhaustion, and even hunger can make all the difference in whether you find the latest chorus of “Happy Birthday to Shoes” charmingly absurd or teeth-grindingly annoying.

For parents in poverty, constant physical and financial insecurity can create stress and depression that make it harder to build healthy relationships with their children. A new study in the journal Pediatrics suggests pointing parents to the positive aspects of their interactions with their little ones can both reduce Mom’s stress and improve her 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 along with toys for the children, or the Video Interaction Project, a 30-minute addition to regular pediatric check-ups.

VIP parents were videotaped playing with and reading to their children for 5 to 7 minutes at each session. After the medical check-up, a child development specialist went over the tape with the mom, pointing out positive interactions and suggesting ways to build on missed opportunities. At the end of each session, the child received a book or toy and the mother received a copy of the tape and a pamphlet with suggestions on ways to speak and respond during play and daily routines.

New York University School of Medicine researchers Adriana Weisleder and Alan Mendelsohn tracked 463 mothers and children who participated in 15 sessions over well-child visits between birth and age 5. 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 students whose mothers had only received newsletters or general pediatric visits. Children in families who had experienced homelessness, violence, mental illness, or significant financial instability had the largest benefits: VIP children had half the rate of hyperactivity as those who did not participate in the program.

Earlier studies of the program also showed it reduced depression for the children’s mothers as well as their use of spanking to discipline the toddlers. Recorded interactions are becoming increasingly common as a tool to help parents and teachers identify and reflect on their practices with children.

“This study shows that a low cost intervention to help parents with infants and toddlers has the potential to reduce poverty-related disparities in school readiness that stand in the way of academic achievement,” Griffin said in a statement; the program costs $150 to $200 per child each year. The researchers are continuing to study the program’s effects into early elementary grades.

Photo: A mother reviews a video of her and her child as part of the Video Interaction Project. Source: New York University School of Medicine, Children of Bellevue Video Interaction Project, Ames Hill Productions


Related:

Want more research news? Get the latest studies and join the conversation.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Families & the Community 'I Need You to Wear a Mask to Protect My Child.' A Mom Fights for Vulnerable Students
Some parents see a tension between their medically vulnerable children's safety and their educational needs during the pandemic.
8 min read
Julia Longoria has joined a federal lawsuit by Disability Rights Texas against Texas Governor Greg Abbott over his ban on mask mandates in public schools. Longoria argues that the executive order prevents her child, Juliana, who is medically at-risk, from being able to attend school safely. Juliana Ramirez, 8, a third grader at James Bonham Academy in San Antonio, Texas, has ADHD and severe asthma which puts her at risk of complications from COVID-19.
Julia Longoria has joined a federal lawsuit by Disability Rights Texas against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott over his ban on mask mandates in public schools. Longoria argues that the executive order prevents her child, Juliana, 8, who is medically at risk, from being able to attend school safely.
Julia Robinson for Education Week
Families & the Community Reported Essay Pandemic Parents Are More Engaged. How Can Schools Keep It Going?
Families have a better sense of what their child is learning, but schools will have to make some structural shifts to build on what they started.
6 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Families & the Community Opinion How to Preserve the Good Parts of Pandemic Schooling
Yes, there have been a few silver linings for student well-being in the pandemic. Let’s not lose them now, write two researchers.
Laura Clary & Tamar Mendelson
4 min read
A student and teacher communicate through a screen.
iStock/Getty
Families & the Community COVID Protocols Keep Changing. Here's How Schools Can Keep Parents in the Know
Parents and educators shared best practices for effective communication related to the pandemic. It all centers on transparency.
6 min read
communication information network 1264145800 b
cagkansayin/iStock/Getty