Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Monroe Carell Jr.
Children's Hospital
at Vanderbilt
2200 Children's Way
Nashville, TN 37232

(615) 936-1000

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Play Nicely

Why not teach all children to do it?  

Play Nicely is an efficient and effective way for everyone to learn appropriate parenting strategies.  

  • Evidence-based. It works!
  • Public health approach
  • Brief
    • Results in 5-10 minutes
    • Total length: 50 minutes
  • Three separate versions for:
    • Parents
    • Teachers
    • Health care professionals
  • English and Spanish
  • Free

Why is education about discipline important?  Inappropriate discipline can lead to child maltreatment, increasing a child's risk of many physical and mental health problems later in life. This process likely occurs because childhood adversity such as maltreatment (i.e. toxic stress) causes changes in gene expression (read more about this phenomenon). Rather than waiting for problems to surface, it would be best if all parents could be educated about appropriate ways to discipline when their children are still young.  

How can I view Play Nicely? Click here to view for free.

How can I introduce the program to others? The program can be introduced using either a risk-based or a population-based approach. 

Risk based approach.  One way to introduce the program is to use a risk-based approach in which the program is recommended to those who ask for help or who appear to be at high-risk.  Anyone can view the program at home at their  convenience.  Click here to print a one page handout that describes the program and how to view it.  English / Spanish

Population-based approach.  Why not teach all children to Play Nicely?  A population-based, or public health, approach exposes more people to the prevention strategy. This approach avoids stigmatization. Also, many parents will not acknowledge that they might benefit from learning discipline strategies. Unless a population-based approach is used, many parents will not learn about appropriate discipline strategies and, as a result, many children will continue to be at risk for life-long health problems. The Play Nicely program has been designed for population-based integration into health and educational systems.  Examples include: 

  • Primary care visits
  • OB/Prenatal visits
  • Preschool programs
  • WIC programs
  • Home visitation programs
  • Other public health services

Using a population-based approach to teach discipline is not complicated.  Parents can benefit in 5-10 minutes. Consider three easy steps. 

1.  Click to go to the program. English / Spanish


2.  Click on "20 options" in the upper right corner. 


3.  Allow parents to view at least 4 discipline options of their choosing.  We have had success with using the following dialogue with parents: 

"We would like all parents to know appropriate ways to discipline young children.  There is no 'one' right discipline option but some are better than others.  Click on at least 4 options of your choosing to learn more.  Each option takes 1-2 minutes to view.  You are welcome to view more than 4 if you like". 

Positive results can be observed in just 5-10 minutes. It is not necessary for the person who introduces the program to have any special training in pediatrics, early education, or child development.  The effects of the intervention have been documented in published articles. 


Play Nicely Links: 
2.  One-page description for parents:  English  / Spanish
3.  Theory behind Play Nicely
4.  What is the evidence that Play Nicely works?
5.  A free program addresses an expensive problem

Last Edited: August 19, 2014