Look after yourself, you’re important too! You hear it all the time when you’re pregnant or when you’ve had just had a baby, but why is it so important?
When you’re pregnant you’re your baby’s home!
The time that your baby is in the womb is the time when your baby’s vital organs, including their brain, are formed and it’s when your baby starts their learning journey. Research from shows that what happens to you during this time has a direct impact on the life outcomes of your child.
So, what you eat, how much you exercise, how stressed you are, how well you are, and the environment you surround yourself with, are all providing the environment that your baby is living in too. And that environment is going to play a role in your child’s development. Amazingly, the time from conception to two years impacts every area of your baby’s life, from how well they do in school, to how much they earn, who they marry, through to how healthy they are for now and for the rest of their life!
When we’re pregnant we often spend loads of time thinking about where the baby will sleep, the pram we want, the clothes our baby will need. BUT, amazingly, only 11% of first-time parents in this research from the Royal Foundation, spent time learning about their child’s development, and even less, 10% focused on their own wellbeing.
And what about learning to parent - a job that goes on for the rest of your life? That didn’t even make the list in the report!
"Only 10% of first-time parents spent time before their baby was born focused on their wellbeing"
So why does looking after your own wellbeing matter so much? And how does this impact last so long?
Well, as the report points out, a depressed parent is less likely to engage with their child. They're less likely to chat and sing, to spend time engaging in silly cuchie-coo and blowing raspberries on their child’s tummy, and less likely to play silly games and seek out giggles. All of these activities build your baby’s language skills, communication skills, their emotional security, their ability to connect with others. They build connection and attachment, which in turn help your child feel secure and loved, which enables them to learn, grow and develop.
An anxious parent is likely to prevent their child from taking risks, from exploring the world around them. They’re less prepared for their child to try things out, to test, to fail, to try again. It’s through these experiences that children learn. Like all learning, it starts from the simple and builds to the more complex, and we need to let them explore and experiment early so they lay the foundations for the rest of the learning they will do through life.
A parent who doesn’t know or understand about their child’s development and who doesn’t have any understanding of the stages they are going through will constantly feel at a loss as to what is happening. They’ll constantly question if they are doing the right thing if what they are doing is good enough. According to the Royal Foundations' report, seven in ten parents of children aged 0-5 feel judged by others!
"7 in 10 parents of children ages 0-5 feel judged by others"
Taking the time to learn relevant, interesting information about your child’s development as it’s happening can make significant changes to how you feel as a parent. It can help you become confident that you ARE doing the right thing. And confident parents are happier parents, and confident parents breed confident happier children which in turn help ensure that you feel less depressed and anxious!
The problem is that finding this information out is hard! Where to go to get trusted, simple information that’s delivered in bite-sized chunks that are relevant to the age and stage of your child? ‘Doctor’ Google has heaps of information, but knowing that it’s the right information is always the challenge! Finding information that you trust is key, and it’s hard to find!
That’s exactly why I built the Oliiki programme. It's an app to ensure that you have simple, easy to follow information that’s grounded in science and written by teachers, education researchers and parents so that you'll be able to start learning about your baby’s brain development, their learning needs from the first day of conception onwards, but also so you can start learning HOW to parent.
Through simple, daily activities you'll also learn about your child’s development so that you can feel confident that you’re doing the right thing for your child at every stage along the way. I want you to be one of the three in ten parents that DON’T feel judged because you KNOW you’re doing the right thing!
I want you to be one of the 3 in 10 parents that DON’T feel judged because you'll KNOW you’re doing the right thing!
Of course, it’s also important that you eat the right things, and exercise and find time to read, sit and drink a lovely cup of tea and breathe deeply because all of these things are creating a wonderful environment that will help your baby develop. Just don’t forget learning about parenting, child development and focusing on YOUR wellbeing are also really important and will impact on the life of your child long after you have forgotten all about which pram you chose and why!
If you want down to earth, solid, trusted parenting support that shows you simple activities to do from the start of pregnancy right through until your baby is two, and explains what learning your baby is getting from it download the Oliiki programme today and experience our app for 7-days for free on us and why not join us on our social media platforms for our newly announced Wellness Wednesdays?! We'd LOVE to have your company, come along, bring a cuppa, the baby (or bump) a question and a friend, at the very least we'll have a lovely natter, maybe learn something along the way, but it will have been a fabulous excuse to sit down, put your feet up and focus on you just for a bit! xx
Ipsos MORI | State of the Nation: Understanding Public Attitudes to the Early Years