Mum and toddler

Supporting child development

HENRY practitioner training and family support services can dramatically improve the quality of the home environment, parenting, and wider lifestyle that babies are born into, with quite literally life-changing impact as they grow up and develop. Find out why the early years are a crucial time.

By supporting improvements in these areas HENRY services contribute to all aspects of child development, improving children's life chances and school readiness.

We offer broad-based support for a healthy start within a single service – our evidence-based Healthy Families programme is holistic, covering whole-family nutrition, parenting, physical activity, emotional wellbeing, oral health and a healthy pregnancy over the course of 8 or 9 weeks. Because of this breadth, it supports all elements of the children’s centre ‘core purpose’, and not simply a narrow definition of ‘health’. For this reason several commissioners choose it as a key pathway for local parents. It is also widely used as an early years obesity prevention service.

Our family support offer also includes services specifically focused on other vital elements of child development and a healthy start – oral health, infant feeding, antenatal support, and speech & language development.

The HENRY approach to supporting behaviour change, which practitioners develop through attending HENRY training, successfully integrates development of parenting efficacy with three proven behaviour change techniques. Practitioners adopting the HENRY approach use their skills to ask the right questions (rather than provide the ‘right’ answers) to build parental readiness for change and identify what changes they will make that will work for their family. This approach therefore works across a range of lifestyle goals and habits – whether it is managing bedtime routines, creating more opportunities to play with their children, or increasing frequency of family mealtimes – the HENRY approach helps parents to better support their children’s health and social development and consequently their life chances and school readiness.

boy in stripey top
Why a healthy start matters

The foundations for virtually every aspect of human development are laid in early childhood

Facilitator and parent HENRY family programme
The HENRY approach

Supporting parents to provide a healthy start in life for their children