News & Events


Look, someone like me!

26.10.2018 - 11:37

Helen Gault is the Antenatal Coordinator supporting families before and after their babies are born,in Edinburgh.

This week I took a Mum and her 12 week old baby to a PEEP group.

Jill has been suffering from anxiety and has not been feeling able to go out much since her baby,Lily's birth.

“I have forgotten how to have a conversation with people” she said, “people are talking about doing this and that, and I just sit there."

It has taken us a few weeks to work up to getting to the group, but this week Jill decided that she was going to push herself despite still feeling very anxious. We got to the group first and settled Lily on one of the play mats, she loved looking around at all the new colours and shapes and lay chatting away.

There were only a couple of other Mums there with their babies and Jill found that she was able to join in with the conversations, which were mainly about nappies and sleep! The babies created a distraction whenever there was a lull in conversation.

Lily got a bit bored lying down so Jill sat her up on her knee. Lily suddenly noticed Mia sitting across from her and was fascinated. Jill said that this was the first time that Lily had seen another baby. Mia was smiling and Lily smiled and babbled back.

At the end of the group, Jill said that she had loved seeing how much Lily had got out of it and that she had actually really enjoyed it. She was glad she had pushed herself to go and said that she would come again next week.

Going along to the group helped Jill feel better and gain a little confidence, Lily experienced new surroundings and interaction with peers and other adults. Hopefully Jill will continue to attend and feel less isolated and less overwhelmed and anxious.

The power of a volunteer armed with a Bookbug!

18.10.2018 - 15:02

Have you ever met a Bookbug?  They are delightfully fluffy yellow creatures that love to help little children to use books.  Our volunteers often take a Bookbug with them when they visit the families they are supporting

Recently a family in Midlothian was referred to Home Link Family Support as mum was feeling quite isolated.  Dad often away with work and mum felt stuck at home with her 3-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son.  The family were new to the area and mum felt unable to get out with the kids, tired and the thought of playing and reading with them overwhelmed her at times.

A Home Link Family Support coordinator met the family and spent some time getting to know them, and then matched them with a weekly volunteer.  The volunteer had recently attended Book Bug At Home training which was part of Home Link’s Volunteer training opportunities.  This meant the volunteer felt confident about singing and reading with children, and was able to take along her Bookbug and a wonderful bag of books and resources.  The kids loved her weekly visits and looked forward to having cuddles with Bookbug while exploring the books together.

The volunteer visited every Tuesday, for a year and her visits included many other activities such as trips to the park, the library and the museum. Gradually mum was able to see how well the kids responded to books and Book Bug and she started to get involved. When dad came home from work, he was happy to join in too.  When the match ended both Mum and Dad said what a huge difference this had made - books, rhymes and singing had become a regular fun part of family life and that the children would often ask for books and songs before bed. 

Rachel Almeida

Midlothian Young Parents Support Coordinator

Let's pretend to be... the value of imaginative play

12.10.2018 - 11:37

By Katarina Vassakou, Family Support Worker


M.: This is Elvis, and this one over here is Tom Thomas.

K.: What does Elvis want to do? Is he doing the same job as Tom Thomas?

M.: No! Elvis is going to put out the fire, he is a firefighter. Tom Thomas is a police officer, he is going to be sitting here! (Points the driving seat of the fire track).

The fire, made by yellow and orange tissue paper, is approaching one home. It is made by a big ball of crumpled paper, and moves up and down, left and right, because of the wind.

M.: Hot! Hot! (He says while Elvis is stepping on the fire). Elvis wants to go inside the house to save the people. You take Tom Thomas and put him on the ladder.

K.: Oh! A helicopter coming (scissors are used for this)! Maybe they could use the helicopter to pour as much water as they can on top of the house.

M.: Yes! And then they can go to sleep because it’s night time.

K.: The fire is almost gone, disappeared (the ball of crumpled paper is now under the table) – they made it!

M.: Elvis and Tom Thomas are going to sleep (uses both hands and pretends to sleep on the table). Now I want to go outside in the garden. I want to play ice-cream shopkeeper…

The value of pretending and of make-believe play seems less obvious. Many parents are not very comfortable when they watch their toddlers playing with their blocks or toys while talking out loud to themselves. Jean Piaget (1962) wrote that symbolic play is not just a passing feature of growth for the development of logical thought. Piaget noted that this is an intrinsic characteristic of our human nature. Pretend play serves our children well for their self-entertainment and for understanding the complexities of the world. Most importantly, it is the foundation of a long-term human characteristic: imagination. We can travel mentally through time and space, to explore a range of possible futures.

Mums and Dads, you have no reason to fear pretend play in your children! This play benefits all areas of your child’s development including their ability to express and regulate their emotions, their creativity and logical reasoning. Join in with your children’s pretend play, help them guide their storyline, and allow them to expand their knowledge of the world around them by playing “Let’s pretend to be’’.