Taking some time out
Facility gives worn out mums and dads chance to mix with others for a chat
Hard working mums and dads know that getting out and about is not only good for themselves, but also beneficial for their little ones.
But sometimes you cannot seem to get your foot out the door when there is just so much to do around the house.
Well that’s where the Parent Cafes in Rutherglen and Cambuslang come in.
Delivered by Healthy n Happy Community Development Trust, the groups specialise in helping parents meet other parents to give each other helpful tips and advice. It also gives them the chance to enjoy time outside the house with their children.
Louise James and her volunteers play an outstanding role in giving a youngster the best possible start in life through a variety of activities which help with a child’s development.
The Reformer was invited along to the Parent Cafe follow on group session held every Friday at
Whitlawburn Community Resource Centre.
Lousie (below) explained the main aims of the cafes. She said: “The idea is not only to look after the children, we put on the activities round a theme and it’s the parents who are the ones who do it with the wee ones.
“We are here to make sure they all feel welcomed, included and take the worry out of coming along to a group. And it allows the parent to spend time with the wee ones rather than have them running about and they’re stuck making tea.
“It’s about supporting the parents and helping the children reach their developmental milestones. All the activities help the development of the children’s love of learning and curiosity.”
Speaking to some of the parents who attend the weekly classes, we soon got to realise that many come along to meet with their own friends as well as letting the children play with their own.
Each group involves a craft session, a healthy snack (a task the children help to prepare), a Play@Home activity, some physical exercise and a Bookbug session.
The craft session is linked to a theme and gives everyone the opportunity to use basic materials which can be found around the home to create a masterpiece.
Children also get the chance to help make a healthy snack and Louise is always on hand to show everyone the activities that are lined up.
Physical activity helps encourage movement and promotes healthy living while the Bookbug session combines books and songs to help with a child’s literacy development.
Christine Rodger and her little ones, Hannah, 3, and Olivia, 18 months, attended the baby group on a Wednesday before moving to the Follow on Group.
The Cambuslang mum told how the session made it easier for her to get to know people in the community which could have been difficult when she moved to the area four years ago.
“We like this toddler group because there’s lots of different things for the children to do,” she said. “It’s just really relaxed and very welcoming.
“I took Olivia when she was a baby to the Wednesday group and then to the follow on group. So it’s quite nice to see the mums you met there and meet them again here.
“The kids are happy and occupied which is nice, It’s a good way to get out in the morning and they are better out doing fun stuff than stuck in the house and it keeps them entertained.”
Nicola Ewing from Cambuslang, says the group is handy because it is within walking distance from her home.
She said: “I think it’s quite good because you get to know the mums and dads and get a coffee and a chat. You get to bring the kids who get to make friends too.
“I come along to see my friends and my son Adam, 3, comes along to see his.
“Louise always has a theme on the day and has arts and craft section and messy play so you are able to do things that you might not be able to do in the house.”
Emma Murdoch and Nicole McFadden from Burnside and Cambuslang both work at Tesco Bank.
Nicole said: “It was the health visitor who said to us when we had babies. There’s a baby one and we started going to that until they grew up a bit and started coming to this one.
“The kids love it, it’s a place to play and socialise and there is lots of different toys and crafts.
“It’s good for us to get out and meet people. You get good tips. The baby one was better for that because you get to know how other babies are getting on because you don’t know any babies to start with.”
Anyone wanting to attend is encouraged to just show up on the day. The cafe, which takes place on three days throughout the week, is free although a £2 donation to help with the running costs is encouraged.
•The Parent Cafe Baby Group meets Wednesdays, 11.30am-1.30pm in Whitlawburn Community Resource Centre.
All smilesMum Chloe Coyne with Harrison Campbell, 17 months and Hannah Rodgers, 3, with volunteer Christine Ward
Family affair Christine Rodger with daughters Hannah, 3, and Olivia, 18 months.
Bubbles There is lots of activities for kids to do which can be applied at home
Meeting friends Derek Morton and Nicola Ewing
Parent cafe A lovely morning was had in the Whitlawburn Community Resource Centre
Activities Some of the children have fun blowing bubbles
Follow on group Connie Morton, 4, with Charlie Purse, 8 months, mum Gillian Purse and Ollie Purse, 4.
Rolling One boy takes a turn on one of the many toys available at the cafe
Growing up Children who attended the baby group on a Wednesday can move onto the follow on group when they’re older