Play Nicely: The Healthy Discipline Program

Play Nicely: The Healthy Discipline Program is a brief, population-based intervention designed to prevent violence and mitigate toxic stress. Rates of violence and other health problems could be reduced if all caregivers learned how to respond to the following question appropriately: "Assume you see one young child hit another. What are you going to do?"

From a public health standpoint, we believe that all parents should be asked this question. First, the question addresses childhood aggression, one of the strongest risk factors for violence later in life. Second, it opens the door for discussions about healthy discipline strategies that can be used for other challenging behaviors.

Play Nicely presents 20 options to respond to an aggressive child. Learners view options that are of the most interest to them. Introduce the program in one minute and see results in less than 10 minutes.

Multiple studies confirm that Play Nicely is effective. After viewing five to 10 minutes of the program, parents change how they plan to discipline, and change their attitudes about physical punishment.

The program works for parents from different cultural backgrounds.

After viewing the program, healthcare providers have increased confidence in counseling parents about discipline, are more likely to recommend appropriate discipline strategies to parents, and have less positive attitudes toward spanking.

To identify parents with the greatest need for support, health care providers and other professionals can use the Pediatric ACEs Algorithm or the Quick Parenting Assessment.

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