Under Fives Team

Under Fives Team


Who we are:

The Under Fives Team provides early intervention and prevention services for children under 5 and their families aimed at promoting positive parent/child relationships and children’s mental health. Our team is made up of clinical psychologists and a child psychotherapist who have lots of experience of working with families. We work closely with other CAMHS colleagues such as Family therapists, and Psychiatrists.

Common problems with children under five:

Parents, carers and professionals may become concerned about aspects of a young child’s social and emotional development or behaviour. Typical concerns relate to behaviour, sleep, eating, toileting, anxiety about separation, attention, social skills, relationships, bonding, attachment, development or the impact of significant events. Seeking help from CAMHS usually happens because these common problems persist beyond the expected developmental stage and parents, carers or professionals feel stuck about how to help.

Some of the most common questions or concerns parents ask for help with are:

“How can I help my baby sleep through the night?”

“Why is my child clingy and hard to comfort?”

“Why am I feeling tearful and down? I have just given birth; surely this should be a time of happiness?”

“My child will only eat certain types of food. What can I do?”

“Should I be worried about my child’s learning or development?”

We know that adjusting to parenthood can be challenging and some parents find it difficult to cope and experience changes in their own mood. Part of our service offers help to parents to be and parents with a baby under one in this situation.

What we do:

1) Work in local Children’s Centres

We work with each of the 16 Children’s Centres in Islington providing support for half a day of week. This includes:

  • time to meet with individual families to talk about concerns, come up with ideas and decide together whether further work with our Under 5s team would be helpful.
  • running parent workshops on common problems in early childhood such as sleep, eating, behaviour and building positive relationships with children through learning and play;
  • We also offer consultation and training to Children’s Centre staff from the outreach team and nursery.

2) Parent and Baby Psychology Service

We run weekly psychology clinics for expectant parents and parents with babies under one year who are finding the transition to parenthood challenging. This may show through low mood, anxiety or finding it difficult to bond with their baby. These appointments provide a safe place for parents to share their thoughts and feelings about becoming a parent in confidence. Some of these clinics are run in health centres and others in Children’s Centres. Appointments can be offered individually or with the baby present, with an average of 6-10 sessions. Sometimes partners or other family members can join if helpful.

3) Incredible Years parenting groups

Together with staff from local Children’s Centres we run baby (0-6 months), toddler (12-36 months) and early childhood (2-6 years) parenting groups. These groups aim to help families with children who are showing early signs of behaviour problems and are designed to increase parental confidence, knowledge of child development and positive parenting skills.

4) Direct work with individual families in health centres

The team also provides assessment and treatment for children under 5 and their families when on-going psychological help is needed. In a first appointment (called a Choice appointment) we begin by hearing what the concerns are and start to think about what might be contributing and what is helping. This helps us to work out if on-going appointments (called Partnership) would be useful and how best to focus this help. If we think we can help we usually offer to meet for six sessions and then review progress.

How do I get to see a member of the Under Fives Team?

You can speak with your health visitor, midwife, GP or someone from your local Children’s Centre. They will get in touch with us. Or you can call and refer yourself. We work across the borough so will try to meet with you at a location that is most convenient to you.

Useful resources and links:

The Child Psychotherapy Trust has a very helpful series of leaflets called Understanding Childhood. They cover topics such as crying and sleeping, separation and changes in the early years, temper and tantrums, overactivity, emotional development, bereavement, divorce and separation. You can find these on their website www.childpsychotherapytrust.org.uk and many of them are in the resources section of our website.

For up to date information about parenting groups across Islington look on: http://www.islington.gov.uk/services/children-families/familyinformationservice/parenting_support/Pages/default.aspx

The Incredible Years website has useful information about parenting: http://incredibleyears.com

raisingchildren.net.au – helpful tips and ideas about parenting

http://www.zerotothree.org/child-development/ – Useful podcasts on topics such as sleep

Pandas Foundation provide pre and post natal depression advice and support: www.pandasfoundation.org.uk

Helpline: 0843 2898 401

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Last updated on 17th November 2017