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Supporting families with their children’s behaviour: The Healthy Start, Happy Start Study

Why did we do this research?

Challenging behaviours, like tantrums, refusals, pushing or hitting, are common in toddlers. For lots of children, these behaviours reduce as they get older. But, for some children, they continue and can have an impact on them now and in the future. Parents and caregivers can make a big difference but it’s important that they have the tools and support to help them.

How did we do it?

The Healthy Start, Happy Start study tested whether a video-led programme for families (called VIPP-SD) could help reduce children’s challenging behaviour. All together, 300 families with one- and two-year-olds took part. Health professionals visited families at home and videoed parents playing with their children. They reviewed the videos with the parents, providing feedback that highlighted positive moments, as well as tips on managing more challenging behaviours.

What did we find?

We found that children whose families received the programme had less challenging behaviour compared to those who did not. This is one of the first programmes delivered through the NHS that helps improve behaviour and strengthen mental health in young children.

Journal article

Read our open-access research paper published in JAMA Pediatrics.


Watch our 1-minute video that summarises what we found in the study.