I’d given up trying to get my daughter *Samantha into a routine. Her crying was unbearable and so I’d just give in and do it her way. I could listen to other people’s kids when they cried but when it was my own child – it just went right through me.
At Kids Matter, we shared our experiences in the group and talked to one another. I didn’t really know what to expect when I started the programme but it was much better than I thought it was going to be. I was worried that my daughter wouldn’t stay in the room but she did! The facilitators made everyone feel at home, like we’d known each other for years.
I talked about how I’d get stressed with Samantha when she acted out, pinching and biting, but I learnt to analyse the situation (Is she hungry or tired? Does she need a nap? Has she had enough one-on-one time?) and instead of shouting at her and telling her off, I would bring her to me and speak to her; and not bring the issue up again unless she did it again.
We’re still working on a bed time routine; I always bath her so that she’s ready for bed but she still doesn’t like to be left alone in her bedroom at night. Food wise, if we’re going out I prepare the next dinner meal the night before so it’s ready for Samantha the next day, which means that things aren’t rushed.
People have noticed that I don’t get as stressed.
After having Samantha, I didn’t feel confident in myself – I was three stone heavier and her dad doesn’t really help out – but talking about how I, we, should feel as mothers really helped boost my confidence. It was nice; we’d say “you’re doing a fantastic job” to encourage one another. Before, if Samantha and I were going out I’d do everything for her and forget myself; I’d leave the house looking rough and not feeling myself. Now, I remember to care for myself, too – to get ready properly and make Samantha wait for me. I don’t let Samantha boss me about anymore; I leave when I am ready.
Kids Matter taught me a lot about my child (to understand what she might be thinking and why she might behave the way she does) and how I should be treated as a person, as a parent – by my partner and others. I’ve learnt the importance of one-on-one time. There are days that I’m like, “Oh have I spent enough time with Samantha today?” – even though I’ve taken her to play groups and to the park, because, actually, this isn’t one-on-one play time with me and her. Then I’ll make sure the next day that we have that one-on-one time over and above me taking her out.
Before I was a mum I was always around people, at work and out and about; now, most of the time, it’s just me and Samantha – on our own every single night. I am OK with this but it was really nice to socialise with other adults at the Kids Matter group. I imagine that if you’re lonely, knowing you have this once-a-week thing where you get to socialise is really big.
The Kids Matter booklets were good; they prompted conversation in the group, and taking them home meant that you could look back on it. If you wanted to look into a particular topic in a bit more depth, you’d be able to.
I genuinely liked it and I’d do it again.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals concerned.
The attached picture is not a representation of the individual concerned.