Toddlerhood is a challenging stage for both parent and child. In our small, informal parent-toddler groups we aim to build the relationship and support the toddler’s development through talk and play. The usual types of issues that the service can help with include:
The service allows individuals to get support and advice from experienced professionals. The group is run by a Child Psychotherapist and Assistant who have a thorough knowledge of child development. There are currently three weekly parent-toddler groups: two in a purpose-built building at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and one in a Camden Hostel (England’s Lane).
To be eligible to attend the group the toddler must be under 2 years of age. The service also requires families to be committed to attending the group regularly for at least a year as it is important for all group members to get to know one another and build up trusting relationships.
The Parent-Toddler Group promotes the toddler’s development in all areas of his or her personality though talk and play. Each group is small (up to 8 children) and can be with one or both parents/caregivers. The group meets weekly for one and a half hours and is a safe environment for the toddler and their caregiver to explore on-going concerns, and strengthen the relationship. Together we think about the child’s feeling and behaviour, try to understand what she/he is communicating and explore ways of responding.
During the group Parent(s) and toddler play freely apart from a structured snack time in which families have the opportunity to talk about concerns such as eating, toileting, tantrums and sleep. The aim of the group is also to encourage the child’s self-confidence and independence in preparation for nursery school.
The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families is a teaching institution which provides students with the opportunity to learn about normal child development and observe children’s play. This means that during the group there may be students present either in the room or in the observation booth; however they do not interact with families.
To ensure that we continue to provide the highest quality of care and continue to improve the service, the Centre regularly evaluates the effectiveness of the group. To do this we routinely collect information from the families who attend. This also allows us to track the progress that you and your child make across the course of the group. In addition we do also carry out a number of research projects looking at specific aspects of our service.
Children, Young People and Families are at the heart of everything we do. We believe it is essential to involve service users in the design of our services. We have a number of participation projects in which we involve parents in. For further information please click here.
The Parent Toddler Service also runs an annual training aimed at professionals working with toddlers and their families, who are looking to extend their knowledge and expertise in the field. For more please information please click here.
Tailored courses can also be designed for professionals who wish to learn about the model and/or develop it.
For a full list of the training courses offered at the Anna Freud Centre please click here.
For enquires about referring families from professionals or enquiries for self-referral please contact Marianne McGowan, Clinical Administrator:
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7794 2313
Please not the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families is a charity and therefore relies on financial contributions from families. We ask families to pay according to the sliding scale which is adjusted to family income.
The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families is strongly committed to ensuring and promoting the safety and wellbeing of all children, young people and vulnerable adults.