Watch Me Play: A feasibility study of a remotely-delivered intervention to promote mental health resilience for children

Legacy Content

This project or publication was produced before or during the merger of What Works for Children’s Social Care (WWCSC) and the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF).

Watch Me Play: A feasibility study of a remotely-delivered intervention to promote mental health resilience for children


Watch Me Play (WMP) is an early intervention programme for parents/caregivers with babies or young children, and aims to protect children’s mental health by enhancing child development and caregiver-child relationships.

Who, what, why and how?

WMP involves a parent/caregiver watching the child play and talking to their child about their play for a period of up to 20 minutes (one session). Some longer sessions will be facilitated by a trained practitioner who will join the parent/caregiver in watching the child or baby either in-person or online (using secure video conferencing software), and talking to the child about their play, providing prompts to the parent/caregiver where necessary.

The Centre for Trials Research (CTR) Cardiff University and Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust are conducting a feasibility study of this intervention to better understand how parents/caregivers engage with WMP, and to support the development of a future pilot randomised controlled trial investigating evidence of promise. In this study, forty parents/caregivers with children aged 0 to 8 years will be recruited from early years and children services across the UK and offered WMP.

Research Questions

Research questions will be split into four areas:

  1. Evidence of feasibility: investigating recruitment and retention of families, recruitment and training of WMP facilitators, fidelity, challenges in delivery and implementation, as well as potential harms. This will be the primary objective
  2. Evidence of promise: investigating the intervention receipt and hypothesised mechanisms of action, as well as parent/caregiver and delivery staff experience of WMP
  3. Readiness for trial: investigating if it’s possible to evaluate WMP, what treatment as usual looks like, how WMP is delivered in comparison, what is the most appropriate comparator, and what is the most appropriate primary outcome for a future efficacy/effectiveness trial
  4. Cost: looking at intervention costs and the feasibility of collecting health economic data in a future definitive effectiveness trial.

Evaluation Protocol


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