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J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2012 Jun;33(5):423-30. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e3182560d87.

A pilot study using children's books to understand caregiver perceptions of parenting practices.

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Children’s Health Services Research, 410 W 10th Street, Suite 1000, Indianapolis, IN 46202-5140, USA.



To conduct a pilot study to test the feasibility and acceptability of using children's books to understand caregiver perceptions of parenting practices around common behavior challenges.


A prospective 1-month pilot study was conducted in 3 community-based pediatric clinics serving lower income families living in central Indianapolis. One hundred caregivers of 4- to 7-year-old children presenting for a well-child visit chose 1 of 3 available children's books that dealt with a behavioral concern the caregiver reported having with the child. The book was read aloud to the child in the caregiver's presence by a trained research assistant and given to the families to take home. Outcomes measured were caregiver intent to change their interaction with their child after the book reading, as well as caregiver reports of changes in caregiver-child interactions at 1 month.


Reading the book took an average of 3 minutes. Most (71%) caregivers reported intent to change after the book reading; two-thirds (47/71) were able to identify a specific technique or example illustrated in the story. One month later, all caregivers remembered receiving the book, and 91% reported reading the book to their child and/or sharing it with someone else. Three-fourths of caregivers (60/80) reported a change in caregiver-child interactions.


The distribution of children's books with positive parenting content is a feasible and promising tool, and further study is warranted to see whether these books can serve as an effective brief intervention in pediatric primary care practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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