As Early Years Family Practitioner with Home Link Family Support, people often ask me ‘What do you actually do?’
I provide a home visiting service to families with at least one child under 5 years & attending a Midlothian Nursery. I work collaboratively with the nursery head teacher & staff team to organise and/or support early learning & family learning opportunities. This includes toilet training advice, sharing books together, attending Child Planning meetings and group work.
My 25hr working week is flexible and varied. No two weeks are identical but typically include home visits to the families I work with, time spent in nursery, delivery of group sessions and admin time.
The other questions people often ask me is ““How are families identified & what do you do with the families you visit?”
This is varied, specific to each family and confidential. The families I work with have, through dialogue with key members of nursery staff, identified something which is presenting a challenge and may be having an impact on their child’s nursery attendance or on an aspect of their child’s well-being, learning & development.
When I initially visit a family, I spend some time getting to know the family and what they are seeking in terms of support. My role is to tailor my visits to what the family feels would be of most benefit. Mostly I work with Mum and the children.
Often, I visit regularly, engaging the children in early learning through play activities; I provide a listening ear for Mum – someone to share worries or concerns and bounce ideas off; together we discuss the everyday challenges of raising a young family and what strategies might help to improve a particular situation. This could be in terms of the daily demands of looking after one or more children under 5 years, establishing or improving family routines, parenting skills, managing challenging behaviour or helping Mum cope with anxiety, poor mental health or feelings of isolation.
The period of time I work with a family varies, depending on individual circumstances and their wishes. I may work with a family for a relatively short period of only 3 - 4 months or I may work with a family for up to a year. In some instances, I work with a family as they prepare to leave nursery, over the summer holiday period and as the child begins and settles into Primary 1.