Jenny and her family were referred to us by their Health Visitor, as Jenny was struggling to cope with having six-week old twins (Matthew and Karen) and an active toddler, Sam (2 ½ years).
The children’s father, Paul, worked shifts which meant he was often not around, and when he was Jenny was trying to keep the children quiet so he could sleep. Jenny was exhausted and feeling overwhelmed.
Sam’s behaviour had also become more challenging, since the arrival of his siblings, as he was no longer having the time and attention from his Mum and Dad that he used to.
All this resulted in Jenny feeling very low and she was not sure if she could cope. She struggled to get out of the house and felt guilty that she was not going to groups with Sam, because she could not face going anywhere with a toddler and twins.
What did we do?
We introduced a home-visiting volunteer who visited Jenny weekly for two hours. This gave her a breathing space and a chance to spend 1:1 time with Sam.
The volunteer was able to support Jenny with whatever was happening on the day of her visit, as at first it was early days for establishing routines with Matthew and Karen. Later she was able to support Jenny to put routines in place.
The volunteer also encouraged Jenny to come along to the family support group and, although initially worried she would not be able to manage it, she became a regular attender.
What difference did we make?
Jenny was able to spend some time with Sam and not feel so guilty that she was not giving him any attention. Jenny was also able to focus on strategies to deal with Sam’s behaviour and give him the attention that he would not otherwise have had.
As routines were established Jenny felt less overwhelmed and more in control of day-to-day life.
Jenny’s confidence increased in taking out all the children at once. This meant that Jenny could attend our family support group, which was unique as it provided activities for the different ages in the family (Jenny told the volunteer that she would not be able to manage other groups, as “she could not be in three different places at once”, especially when the twins started to crawl and Sam wanted to do different activities). This meant Sam enjoyed activities with other children which prepared him for starting pre-school and school.
Jenny also felt that the family support group allowed her some time for herself. She made friends at the support group who she met outside of the sessions and these provided her with support and reassurance.
“Home-Start has been a fantastic support at a time when I needed the help most.”
“Having the volunteer for this time was fantastic for getting me through a very difficult time in my family’s life.”
*Names have been changed