Program Goals/Target Population
INSIGHTS into Children's Temperament is an elementary-school-based comprehensive intervention in which parents, teachers, and clinicians are taught to recognize children’s behavioral expressions of temperaments, and to use temperament-based strategies to improve their relationships with children. They are also provided with alternative attentional and behavioral disciplinary strategies to use with children. Throughout the program sessions, teachers and parents are given a framework to appreciate individual differences in children, and develop child-management strategies directed at reducing behavior problems. INSIGHTS also includes a curriculum for grades K–1, in which puppets are used to teach children strategies for regulating their emotions, attention, and behavior in temperamentally challenging situations.
Program Activities/Program Components
INSIGHTS is a school-based intervention delivered to parents, students, and teachers through role-playing, discussion, assignments, instruction, and videotaped vignettes in a 10-session curriculum. The teacher and parent sessions are delivered in three parts:
Part 1: “Learning about Child Temperament” teaches the 3 R’s: Recognize, Reframe, and Respond. Teachers and parents learn to recognize a child’s behaviors as part of his/her temperament, to reframe their perceptions of the child by understanding that no temperament is ideal in every situation, and that various responses will influence their interactions with a child and his/her later behavior.
Part 2: “Gaining Compliance” teaches participants to use behavior-management strategies specifically matched to the child’s temperament.
Part 3: “Giving Control” integrates developmentally appropriate strategies learned in earlier sessions to provide additional support for the child who is met with temperamentally challenging situations.
The children’s 10-week curriculum is conducted for 45 minutes per week (during the same timeframe as the teacher and parent programs), using puppets that represent common temperament types. Children view video vignettes that demonstrate each puppet’s response to a range of situations and interact with the puppets and their peers to solve problems that they may face daily.
The intervention was based on an integration of temperament theory (Thomas and Chess 1977), which describes three types of children: a) the easy child, b) the difficult child, and c) the slow-to-warm-up child (in which puppets were modeled to display temperament); parenting; transactional relationships between teachers and students; and prevention science.