Children in parenting programme 'healthier, smarter and better behaved'

A new parenting intervention programme has found dramatic results in improving children's IQs, health and behaviour.

The Preparing for Life study, which was trialled in Dublin, focused on intensively mentoring parents from midway through pregnancy until their child started primary school.

Children in the programme had fewer behavioural problems at ages two, three and four, displaying fewer externalising problems, such as aggressive behaviour, and fewer internalising problems, such as anxious behaviour, according to the study.

They were also less likely to be overweight and had healthier diets, the study stated.

The eight-year project, which saw an evaluation team track more than 200 families between 2008 and 2015, is one of the first of its kind ever carried out in Europe.

Programme manager Noel Kelly said that the study showed significant results for children.

"What we found is that the children are doing better in pretty much all of the key areas," he said.

"So developmentally, they are doing better, we've had the children in our programme group 10 points higher in our IQ scores and also the children are at a much less risk of being below-average in relation in performance when they come into schools.

"We've also found that the children are doing really well in health."

Preparing for Life (PFL) is a community-led prevention and early intervention initiative operated by the Northside Partnership (NSP), which aims to improve the life outcomes of children and families living in a disadvantaged area of North Dublin.


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