Being a parent isn’t easy. With so many balls to juggle (or plates to spin!), sometimes we forget to look after ourselves, which makes it difficult to then be able to help our children develop self-care themselves.
Taking care of your wellbeing is a fundamental part of parenting, but often it gets overlooked. Sometimes, taking time out just for you can feel like a luxury you can’t prioritise, especially when there are so many other people who need things from you and plenty of other jobs calling out to be completed. A parent who looks after their own wellbeing will find they become more confident in supporting their children’s wellbeing and be able to do it with increased energy and motivation.
At Home-Start we are always looking for ways to help the families we support to identify their own strengths and then find ways to build upon them. We do this individually through one-to-one work with each family; through our family support groups; and also by offering additional information and training, when possible.
With this in mind, we recently offered Home-Start families the chance to attend a wellbeing course with Jennie from Hands on Mindfulness. This training took the form of 6 ‘Wellbeing Workshops’ which were delivered to 8 families during May and June this year.
The workshops were held weekly via Zoom on Tuesday mornings and everyone benefitted from the video and leaflet that supported each session. The course introduced parents to ideas around relaxation, giving plenty of examples of activities to support both their own and their children’s wellbeing. It also offered the opportunity for participants to share ideas, worries and challenges, which helped to increase self-esteem and confidence, as well as peer connections. All participants received a copy of the 14-page toolkit at the end of the course – a helpful reminder of what they had learned and something to refer back to at a later stage.
We would like to thank the Hertfordshire Community Foundation whose kind donation made this training possible.
A post-course survey revealed that families who participated in the workshops showed:
- improved scores for managing stress,
- more confidence with strategies to manage and enjoy being with their children,
- greater engagement with mindful activities,
- significantly more confident about supporting their children’s wellbeing, and
- a better understanding of their own emotions.
All in all, we had very positive feedback from the families about the course, especially the usefulness of the videos, leaflets and toolkit.
Here are some of the quotes we received from families that attended…
Jennie, who facilitated the course for Home-Start, was pleased with how well parents engaged with the course, the materials and with each other. Although ordinarily, it would be preferential to deliver a course like this in a face-to-face environment, Jennie was able to encourage relationships to be built through the weekly zoom sessions, which was beneficial for everyone and meant that this important course could take place at a time when many parents really needed it.
Jennie has made the course materials the property of Home-Start so that they can be re-used to support other families in the future, meaning that more parents and children will benefit.