Nurturing parents’ knowledge of child development and supporting their ability to build healthy family relationships are important for achieving positive health outcomes for children. All children rely on safe, stable and positive interactions with a parent or caregiver for their development. Building parenting skills and confidence is particularly important for families facing adverse conditions and toxic stress, since positive experiences can buffer children from adversity and help build resilience. Positive parenting skills are also protective factors that may help reduce risk of child abuse and neglect. 


Through the office visit, clinicians are well-positioned to observe, address, and promote positive parenting, and make recommendations or referrals for activities and interventions that bolster parent-child attachment and parenting skills, as well as make recommendations for services and interventions.

Following are strategies for nurturing parental confidence, skills, and well-being. 

Strategies for Supporting Parents

  • Share models, activities, and tips that support parent-child relationship building and techniques like attachment parenting—for example, brain building or brain development activities like those offered by Vroom, and Positive Parenting tips.
  • Integrate child development specialists into the practice using an approach like ZERO TO THREE's HealthySteps program. 
  • Learn about protective factors for increasing resilience and the everyday actions you can take to encourage them, as well as about trauma-informed care approaches. Pursue professional development and training on trauma-informed approaches and resilience from organizations like Prevent Child Abuse New York
  • Partner with programs in your community that support parents and to which you can make referrals. For example, Parenting Journey is a facilitated small group program for parents and caregivers to promote confidence, capability, and resilience, available at some community-based organizations around New York City. 
  • Familiarize yourself and your practice staff with approaches to nurturing parent confidence through strengths-based observations and positive feedback to parents, which can be particularly useful during stressful visits, such as vaccinations. Examples of these approaches include Reach Out and Read, Video Interaction Project, and Newborn Behavioral Observations
  • Review resources on primary and secondary prevention of child abuse, like those from Prevent Child Abuse New York, and from Practicing Safety, an initiative of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
  • Nurture parental well-being and mental health by encouraging self-care to prevent caregiver burnout. Learn about everyday self-care strategies to share with parents, as well as more targeted tactics for self-care during emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The active ingredient in the environment that's having an influence on development is the quality of the relationships that children have with the important people in their lives. That's what it's all about."
Jack P. Shonkoff, MD
Director, Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University

Promising Approaches to Supporting Parents 

Pediatric practices across New York have adopted a range of approaches to support parenting as part of the well-child visit. These include:

Resources for Supporting Parenting and Child Development

Tools and Resources for Supporting Parenting

Interventions and Practice Models


Policy and Research

Telehealth Resources