Tuning Into Kids Program

Learn to recognise and understand children’s emotions and manage your own.

Our Family Intervention Service team delivers many programs to help increase the protective factors for the family and child, improve relationships and parenting skills with the end goal of the family exiting the child protection system and subsequently preventing re-entering.

Over the past three years, we have been delivering the Circle of Security Program, supporting over fifty parents to ‘be with’ their children and developing stronger attachments with their children.

Inspired by the aim to build the capacity of parents to be more attuned to their children, we introduced a new program called Tuning into Kids. This program was based on the work of researchers and practitioners who have closely observed the emotions of adults and children.

Tuning into Kids focuses on parents/carers developing emotionally responsive parenting whilst children are experiencing emotions at a low to moderate intensity, with the aim of reducing the need for children to escalate their behaviours. This program teaches parents to name their children’s emotions and learn how to self-regulate. In 2022, we trained members of the Family Intervention Services team as facilitators for the Tuning into Kids program and started to deliver the program to our service users.

After the success of the Circle of Security Program and Tuning into Kids programs, we were eager to expand our repertoire of programs. Melbourne University reached out earlier in the year to invite services to be part of a research program which introduced a new Tuning into Kids program designed for Dads. Fathers involved in our Family Intervention Service have been indicating to us that they were seeking more parenting support to connect with their children and help them manage big emotions.  We knew that the need was big, so we were keen to be training in Dads Tuning into Kids so we could offer it to our service users and the community more broadly.

Dad’s Tuning into Kids Program is an evidence-based, emotion-focused parenting program. It offers dads their own parenting toolbox that holds information on how to build emotional connections with their children. Over seven sessions, attendees will focus on meta-emotion philosophies, awareness as well as the attitudes and beliefs about parenting.

These meta-emotion philosophies explore the attendees’ personal beliefs and reactions to their own and others’ emotions. The overarching aim is to improve the family emotion coaching climate and through developing awareness of emotions and emotional well-being, as well as discovering attitudes and beliefs about parenting. Through their participation, Dads gain skills in emotion coaching, empathise and validate their children’s emotions, helping children to label their own emotions and solve problems.

As part of the Movemeber’s Scaling What Works ten-million-dollar incentive, the Dads Tuning into Kids research project received funding to train forty community facilitators across Australia to facilitate Dads Tuning into Kids parenting programs. ICH was successful in being chosen to have two facilitators trained, one from our Community Engagement services and the second from Family Intervention Services. We also upskilled three workers who were already training in Tuning into Kids so that they could also deliver Dad’s Tuning into Kids parenting programs.

As part of the research, each participant agreed to complete a pre-program and post-program questionnaire which was provided to help Movember with their research around Scaling What Works.

The first group of Dads successfully completed the program in August 2023, and we are all set to be kicking off the program again in September and October.  For more information about our Dad’s Tuning into Kids program, please contact Mary Prickett on 0422 231 527 or mary.prickett@ich.org.au