Clackmannanshire pilots 'Understanding Your Toddler'

Pilot workshops and parenting tips for parents & carers


Voluntary sector, NHS and local authority partners jointly developed and ran ten weekly sessions to four local toddler groups. These were based on the Ready Steady Toddler (RST) publication (NHS Health Scotland 2008) which guides parents/carers through the challenges and rewards of the toddler years. The project provided opportunities for the RST resource to be used by community agencies in their work with parent and toddler groups.

Partnership approach fundamental

The partnership approach was fundamental to engage agencies and use their knowledge, skills and experience. The main partners included the public health practitioner, health visitors/public health nurses, early years manager, Alloa Family Centre, Scottish Preschool Play Association, Action for Children, and the Scottish Childminding Association.

Project aims

The project aimed to:

  • Use the "Ready Steady Toddler" booklet to bring together key providers (voluntary, statutory and independent) to deliver a consistent approach to increasing confidence and skills of local parents
  • Review the booklet from local parents' perspectives
  • Increase parent and child interaction and increase positive relationships
  • Involve parents/carers in developing the programme of activity

How it worked

Public health nurses were allocated to support each of the four groups. Two planning meetings brought together all staff involved to agree learning outcomes, session plans and evaluation. Clackmannanshire Council provided funds to buy a RST booklet for each parent and materials for the group sessions. The four groups targeted different geographical areas and used different styles suitable for each group. Each group recorded the ten sessions and collected evidence including photographs, session plans, evaluation forms and quotations from parents/carers. The parents were involved in planning and evaluating each session and the RST booklet.

What parents thought

Parents liked the practical activities which could be used at home and the chance to share opinions and experiences with peers.  Comments included:

"I thoroughly enjoyed it and feel my family will benefit"

"I'm not putting the T.V. on as much"

"The time in the group was fabulous, no distractions from children and I feel better from the time for ourselves"

"I've learnt that play is a key development in a child's life and I'll try and encourage more play"

"[The RST booklet is] very useful. I find myself at home referring to it for advice. I like how it gave opinions of other mums"


  • Parents in toddler groups enjoyed the structured approach to positive parenting and finding out information and ideas to use at home. They liked the RST booklet.
  • Parents made new friends within the groups.
  • Planning and running the programme helped agencies build partnerships and gain a better understanding of each other's roles.
  • The joint activities encouraged effective interaction between parents and children.
  • The Tullibody group provided a crèche and created an environment which enabled parents to disclose sensitive issues e.g. issues with food which affected the family diet.
  • Staff were enthusiastic about this way of working.

Please note, this project is now finished.