New parents need practical knowledge on how to look after their children and they need to banish the old myths about parenting.I can assure you that after many years of trying eating your crusts does not give you curly hair.
I felt prepared to tackle the issue of having a baby but still spent my pregnancy reading as many parenting manuals as I could get my hands on. Hubby on the other hand had never had much to do with babies. We found ourselves one weekend afternoon unpacking the nappies into the changing unit a few weeks before our insomniac bundle of joy arrived. The teeny tiny nappies that were so small that they were slightly scary. We were discussing how many nappies we would need and Hubby admitted to having never changed a nappy before.
Just weeks before we are having a real live baby and he only just tells to me now that he has no idea what he is doing! Panic mode sets in and we grab a nappy out of the drawer and I try to explain how it works. This is hard to do with no baby so I grab a cuddly toy instead. A cuddly monkey, representative of the size of a baby. After a few failed attempts and ripping the tapes off rather than sticking them down he finally manages a half decent job. On a cuddly monkey, that doesn’t move!
It took many attempts at a squirming crying baby before he was confident and happy to attempt the changing procedure by himself but he got there in the end. Looking after a baby goes a lot further than just knowing how to change it. Bathing was a whole new challenge and getting her dressed was the funniest of all. When the baby becomes a toddler we had a whole new set of unplanned for worries. Sharp edges, plug sockets, things she could swallow and teaching her to walk.
There have been many perils of parenting along the way, most of them ones we didn’t expect and were not prepared for. We didn’t Baby Proof our finances so struggled to begin with. We were unprepared in many ways for the joy and stress that having a baby brings.
I was lucky. As my girls grew up I had the use of the local Sure Start centres where courses like Baby Survival (0 to 2yrs), Parent survival (2 to 5yrs) and babbling babies gave me access to professionals who could answer my questions. With the Sure Start centres closing and the courses no longer running new parents need to be able to go somewhere to learn that they are not alone.
CANparent is a Government (DfE) initiative aiming at providing high quality parenting classes to support the parenting skills of both mothers and fathers. It is currently being trialled in a few areas (Camden, Middlesborough, High Peaks and Bristol). The classes cover all of the topics any parent of a child from birth until the end of school year one will face. Be it daily routines; managing relationships; team parenting; why play is important; behaviour or practical solutions to everyday challenges. While every family is different and every child is different, many parents find that they go through the same challenges, issues and joys as other mums and dads. For more expert parenting tips and advice visit and “like” the CANparent Facebook page
On a CANparent class you can get support with everyday challenges such as:-
- learning through play
- parents working together as a team
- communicating and staying calm
- managing sleep issues
- coping with difficult behaviour
- rules and routines
- understanding different stages of your child’s development
I think it is important that we are able to offer our new parents the opportunity of these courses. When my parents were at school Homemaking was part of the curriculum. Learning to cook, run a house and tend to children all fell under that umbrella and when a child left home they were more prepared than they are now. Unfortunately we don’t teach this to our children anymore and many of them leave home completely unprepared.
I know I learnt so much from the courses I attended and I have been using some of the techniques and knowledge over the past few years so if you are able to go on one of these courses I would definitely recommend it.