Supporting Head Start parents: impact of a text message intervention on parent–child activity engagement

Lisa B. Hurwitz*, Alexis R. Lauricella, Ann Hanson, Anthony Raden, Ellen Wartella

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Head Start emphasises parent engagement as a critical strategy in promoting children's long-term learning. Parents can support children's positive development by engaging them in stimulating activities. The following study assessed whether a service that delivered parenting tips via text message could prompt parents of children enrolled in Head Start programmes to engage in more learning activities with their children. Two hundred and fifty-six parents participated in the study with approximately half receiving text messages for six weeks. All participants completed a questionnaire about the types of learning activities in which they engaged their children. Parents who received the service engaged in more learning activities; this was particularly true of fathers and parents of boys. Parents reported high rates of satisfaction with service. These results suggest that text-based interventions as a supplement to other forms of family engagement may successfully communicate parenting information and support parental engagement with young children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1373-1389
Number of pages17
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2 2015


  • Head Start
  • activities
  • early childhood
  • intervention
  • parenting
  • text messaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics


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