“Right from the Start” (RFTS) is an 8-session parenting course designed to enhance parents’ skills in reading infant cues and responding sensitively. The course uses attachment theory as a framework and active adult learning principles. RFTS is appropriate for any parent or caregiver of an infant under 24 months, including those at risk for social, emotional, behavioural, or developmental difficulties.
Session topics include attachment security (“What is it and why is it important?”), parent-child interaction (“How do you show me you love me?”), the impact of parent and child temperament on interaction, disengage (“I don’t like it”) cues, approach (“I like it” and “I need you”) cues, following the child’s lead, and building a healthy relationship. In RFTS, large groups of parents (12-40) sit at tables of 4-6 parents each and watch video clips of confederate parents making exaggerated errors in common parent-child interaction situations. They discuss in their small groups (i.e., at their tables) the errors and the impact of the errors, as well as alternatives and the benefits of the alternatives. Large group discussion follows each small group discussion. Parents practice skills in structured homework assignments and, in the following session, discuss their home practice and get peer support for their efforts. Each of the eight weekly sessions of RFTS is two hours long.
RFTS parenting courses have been conducted in early years centres, child care settings, children’s treatment centres, family resource centres, churches, schools, recreation centres, prisons, and hospitals. Two-day facilitator training workshops, a detailed facilitator manual, and videotape have allowed RFTS courses to be conducted successfully throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe.
Did You Know?
Babies who are responded to quickly produce less harmful stress chemicals in their brains.
What Parents Say about RFTS
“I found the group informative.”
“I was pleasantly surprised... (someone) told me that I didn’t need the program
because I have other children but I persisted and I found the group very helpful.”
“I find it helpful to know that what my husband and I are doing really helps our child.”
“It was great to meet other parents... I didn’t feel so alone.”