Incredible Years is a set of three interlocking, comprehensive, and developmentally based training programs for children and their parents and teachers. These programs are guided by developmental theory on the role of multiple interacting risk and protective factors in the development of conduct problems. The three programs are designed to work jointly to promote emotional and social competence and to prevent, reduce, and treat behavioral and emotional problems in young children, as follows:
The Incredible Years child program. The Dinosaur School child training prevention program consists of more than 60 classroom lesson plans (approximately 45 minutes each) for three age levels, beginning in preschool through second grade (3-8 years). Lesson plans are delivered by the teacher at least twice weekly over consecutive years. The small group treatment program consists of 18-22 weekly sessions (2 hours each) offered in conjunction with the training programs for parents of preschoolers or school-age children. The child program aims to strengthen children's social and emotional competencies, such as understanding and communicating feelings, using effective problem-solving strategies, managing anger, practicing friendship and conversational skills, and behaving appropriately in the classroom.
The Incredible Years parent programs. Three training programs are available for parents of babies and toddlers (up to 30 months), preschoolers (3-5 years), and school-age children (6-12 years). The lengths of the parent programs vary from 12 to 20 weekly group sessions (2-3 hours each). The programs focus on strengthening parent-child interactions and relationships, reducing harsh discipline, and fostering parents' ability to promote children's social, emotional, and language development. In the programs for parents of preschoolers and school-age children, participants also learn how to promote school readiness skills; in addition, these parents are encouraged to partner with teachers and become involved in their children's school experiences to promote children's academic, social skills, and emotional self-regulation and to reduce conduct problems. Each program includes protocols for use as a prevention program or as a treatment program for children with conduct problems and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
The Incredible Years teacher program. The teacher training program is delivered to early childhood and elementary school teachers of young children (3-8 years) and consists of 42 hours (6 days) of monthly workshops delivered by a trained facilitator. The program focuses on strengthening teachers' classroom management strategies; promoting children's pro social behavior, emotional self-regulation, and school readiness; and reducing children's classroom aggression and noncooperation with peers and teachers. The training also helps teachers collaborate with parents to support parents' school involvement and promote consistency between home and school.
In each program, trained facilitators use videotaped vignettes to structure the content and stimulate group discussions, problem solving, and practices related to participants' goals.