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Family Nurture Intervention – Preschool

Mothers with preschool-aged children talk about their experiences with Family Nurture Intervention.

Children increasingly have emotional, behavioral and developmental difficulties. These problems are often identified between the ages of two and five. When children enter preschool, disruptive behavior makes learning difficult and creates social problems. Effective, scalable interventions must be developed and rigorously tested to meet this growing challenge.

Based on the Nurture Science Program’s research findings, Family Nurture Intervention in the NICU has been adapted to help preschool-aged children and their parents establish and maintain emotional connection to overcome emotional, behavioral and developmental problems.

Today, children and their parents often spend more time apart than together. Parents go to work while children go to daycare and preschool. They need to learn how to reconnect after each day apart. Otherwise, these separations can lead to emotional disconnect, which in turn contributes to parental distress and children’s disruptive behavior, emotional outbursts, and even developmental difficulties. When children and parents are emotionally connected they are both calm, and the children are ready to learn and relate to other people.

The Intervention

Family Nurture Intervention (FNI) for preschool-aged children and their parents is a group-based model led by trained nurture specialists, who support children and parents as they engage in close emotional communication that facilitates emotional connection.

The group-based approach allows FNI – Preschool to become a scalable community resource, so it can be available to families when they need it. It also helps build community and supportive relationships between families.

Ongoing Research

Two randomized control trials are underway to evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of Family Nurture Intervention – Preschool:

  • Norwalk Housing Authority, Norwalk, CT. Principal Investigator: Martha G. Welch, MD, DFAPA
  • Children’s Learning Centers (CLC), Fairfield County, CT.  Principal Investigator: Martha G. Welch, MD, DFAPA
Connecting in Times of Crisis: Smell

Smells that evoke emotional connection can calm us deeply, even therapeutically, especially during stressful separation. During this prolonged period of social distancing, we can find creative ways to use smell to connect.

Connecting in Times of Crisis: Touch

Though touch with loved ones is irreplaceable, we can use what we know about touch and emotional connection to give our bodies a much-needed boost even when we are not together. This can help offset the stress of separation. So how do we get the most benefit?