Reflections from Jan, a Peep practitioner, on a 9-week Healthy Peep course in Midlothian, with pre-school age children.
‘The topics were chosen by parents/carers, in an informal chat as to which they felt were most important. They included healthy eating, hygiene, exercise, co-ordination and friendships. Health-related activities, like child massage (with a visiting specialist) and cooking were added, and the songs and stories linked to the topic.
We provided play packs that families could borrow, including drawing and threading activities for motor development, healthy eating games, and story books, some of which dealt with sensitive issues, such as death and divorce.
Each week we told parents and carers what next week’s topic would be, so that they had the opportunity to bring along any questions or input for talk time.
Evaluation - main themes:
Parents reported their children to have an increased awareness of the connection between food/exercise and being healthy. Parents were now more aware of giving their children choices, and that their children were consciously making healthy choices.
Families really valued the time to socialise with other families, and the social support provided by Peep.
Parents also valued the opportunity to discuss topics with other parents, and share knowledge and experiences. Seeking support from other parents is a strong factor in parents being able to make positive changes.
All families who came along to healthy Peep stayed for the entire duration, with dads/grandparents coming in place of mothers if they couldn’t make a week. As one dad said, ‘It’s not something that I would usually do but there was no way we could miss a week, we’re all learning so much.’
Parents appreciated the quality one-to-one time with their child.
Most parents/carers reported that the songs and stories were an activity that their children really enjoyed. Singing was the most common activity that parents reported now doing at home.’