I’m sat down for the first time today. I’ve done a million and one jobs and all the time my minds been on the impending visit from the Health Visitor in 20 minutes time… And I’m nervous, but why?
In my day job (as a Dads Support Coordinator) I’m fully aware that Health Visitors don’t get a lot of interaction from dads. The majority of HV visits are in the earlier stage of an infants life and so mostly it’s mum at home or on Mat leave. So I’m feeling a little like I’m the one being assessed.
I’m also aware that dad’s rarely seem to know what the purpose of HV visits are. Though this isn’t really through any fault of the the HV as much as it is a lack of interest or education on the father’s behalf. That’s not a finger pointing at the Dads out there but if you’re wanting involved in this part of your child’s health care you need to take responsibility and ask some questions.
Today’s visit from the HV is for the 30 month assessment of my daughter. My wife and I went through the assessment survey together asking questions like ‘can your child string together multiple word sentences?’, ‘can your child retrieve items like shoes and jackets?’ that sort of thing. It’s pretty simple stuff and it’s purpose is just to see if your child is progressing at the ‘national average pace’.
The whole point of these assessments are to see if you need any extra help. It’s not about judging your parenting, rather it’s about seeing how the wee one is getting on. Here’s a shocker for you, A lot of first time parents have never had children before :-). Let’s be honest, a lot of new parents have idea what they are doing and are just winging it.
No matter how many parenting books you read , it can only help so much. When the baby arrives the books won’t rock your baby to sleep, they won’t tell you if its a teething cry or a poo cry and they sure as hell won’t comfort your wife’partner who’s broken down in tears for the 27th time this week.
I guess all I’m really trying to say here folks is that sometimes (a lot of the time), we could all use a helping hand. If you get that call from the HV booking to come see your child/ren then step up to the plate guys. It’s not so bad. You never know, you might even find out new things about your child and be encouraged by how good a job you’re doing.