Under 5's Team

Who we are

The Under Fives Team provides early intervention and prevention services for children under 5 and their families. Our work is aimed at promoting positive parent-child relationships and children’s mental health. Our team is made up of CAMHS clinicians including; clinical psychologists, child psychotherapists and educational psychotherapists who have lots of experience of working with children and families.

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 and decide to ask for help from our service. Typical concerns relate to;
changes in, or challenging behaviour,    sleep, feeding/eating     toilet training,    anxiety about separation,   attention,    social skills,    relationships, bonding,   attachment,   development   or the impact of significant events.
Parents may seek help from CAMHS, following discussion with and advice from health visitors, family support workers or their GP, 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?”
“My child’s behaviour has become difficult for me to manage. How can I understand and help my child with this.”

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

Work in local Children’s Centres (CAMHS in Bright Start Islington)

CAMHS in Bright Start Islington supports children under the age of 5 and their families, in the local community. CAMHS clinicians work in each of the 16 children’s centres in Islington, and across each of the 3 Bright Start Islington Areas (West, East and South). For more information about visit Bright Start Islington

  • We can offer appointments to families with children under 5 if there are concerns about a child’s emotional well-being, behaviour or development
  • We can talk through your concerns and come up with ideas to support your child and family
  • This might be a one off meeting to discuss your concerns, which helps you to get back on track, or that links you with other useful services. Or, it may lead to some more appointments (we can offer up to 5 appointments in children’s centres).
We will try to meet you at a children’s centre near you.
Sometimes we may decide with you that a different service or another part of Islington CAMHS would be helpful.
We run workshops for parents, in the community, to help deal with issues in early childhood, such as;
  • Sleep
  • Eating
  • Behaviour
  • Building positive relationships
  • Toilet training.

Consultation and Training
We also offer consultation and training for nursery workers and Bright Start Islington staff, to support their work with children under 5 and their families.

How does you child 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 to discuss whether we are the right service for you. You can also call yourself to discuss a referral on 020 3316 1824. We work across the borough so will try to meet with you at a location that is most convenient to you.
Choice and Partnership
  • The team also provides assessments and treatment for children Under 5, and their families, at Islington Health Centres. We call the assessment appointments Choice appointments and on-going appointments Partnership appointments.
  • Like in children’s centres, we begin by hearing what your concerns are and who (if anyone else) is concerned and start to think about what might be contributing and what is helping. This enables us to work out if on-going partnership appointments 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.

Parent and Baby Psychology Service

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. This is called the 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 expectant parents or parents to share in confidence their thoughts and feelings about becoming a parent. 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

Incredible Years parenting group

Together with staff from local Children’s Centres we run toddler (12-36 months) and early childhood (3-6 years) parenting groups. These groups aim to help families and are designed to increase parental confidence, knowledge of child development and positive parenting skills.  Incredible Years groups run throughout the year at Children’s Centres across the borough.   Please check the Family Information Service for up –to-date information about when and where groups are running.  You can self-refer through the children’s centre or by calling CAMHS on 020 3316 1824.

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, over activity, emotional development, bereavement, divorce and separation. You can find these on their website Child Psychotherapy Trust and many of them are in the resources section of our website.

For up to date information about please see below links:
Parenting Groups across Islington
The Incredible Years website has useful information about parenting
Raisingchildren – helpful tips and ideas about parenting
Useful podcasts on topics such as sleep
Pandas Foundation provide pre and post natal depression advice and support.  Helpline: 0843 2898 401
Working on it!