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If you are a parent carer…

9 replies

Senmamaneedssleep · 30/05/2023 22:34

Hope this is ok to post here! Looking for thoughts from parent carers on an idea a friend and I have had.

We are looking at running short breaks
for parent carers of children with additional needs. It would take place over the space of an hour in a therapeutic farm setting. During the hour, the parent carer will turn up with their child, and do some settling in activities with them.

The parents would then go off to do a thirty minute meditation and mindfulness practice with a qualified practitioner, whilst their children would be supervised by a qualified SEN specialist doing some craft activities and going to see a few animals around the farm. It is a very small farm and would be very small groups (max 3 adults and 6 kids per session).

If you are a parent carer, is this the kind of thing you’d be interested in? We are conscious there are very few respite activities available that focus on the wellbeing of the parent whilst also providing childcare for the children, so this is key for us. And how much would you be willing to pay for a one hour session, including the childcare?

OP posts:
Icedlatteplease · 30/05/2023 22:37

Personally no. When I have time to myself I want to do simple me things like get a coffee, engage in my hobby. Meditation and mindfulness is one thing that is manageable at home

bryceQ · 30/05/2023 22:45

I wouldn't be able to leave my son with strangers he would be very upset.(4.5 years old - maybe you're thinking older?)

I do yoga and mindfulness every day and classes three times a week when DH looks after him.

It's a nice idea but I'd rather just have a sen friendly session at a farm I can join in with him. Lots of sessions are too busy for us so we can't go to popular places, we need to wait for the sen only sessions which are usually really early.

Senmamaneedssleep · 30/05/2023 22:45

That’s completely understandable and I am the same, but I suppose the difference is that this is creating that space for a break that otherwise wouldn’t be there. It’s not having a break to yourself vs this session, it’s doing another hour of parent caring vs having this session, if that makes sense.

OP posts:
WhisperingAutistic · 30/05/2023 22:47

My son wouldn't want to go with other people, and to be honest, I'd want to see the animals too!
I'm not a fan of mindfulness, meditation or any kind of group class like that. I wouldn't find it relaxing.

Youvebeenmuffled · 30/05/2023 22:51

I feel the stress of my child being left with strangers would very quickly wipe away any benefit of a 30 minute break!

Imsorrysorry · 30/05/2023 22:53

My child would go with anyone and would enjoy crafts and animals.
Id prefer the hour to drink a hot coffee and shut my eyes. I’d possibly read my book. Doing any organised activities feel like another chore. Could you instead offer a chill out area for parents with refreshments.
I’m not sure about cost. I also work so use regular childcare so not sure id pay much for this as I could pay my regular childcare for a break if I wished. I know that’s not an option for lots of people though.

DinosaurOfFire · 30/05/2023 22:59

As others have said, it would take too long to settle my child for it to be worth it- it would take repeated hours to get my child/ren to settle away from me, with familiar people. And if I'm going to have 30 minutes away from them, and the stress that comes from leaving them in an unfamiliar setting, it needs to be a: something where my child is far away from me so I can't hear them! and b Something that truly relaxes me- I may not be your target audience though as while I am a parent-carer, I am not into meditation or mindfulness at all, and if anything find structured sessions like this unhelpful. If I am childfree, I would like to have no demands or structure, as a PP said a coffee and a quiet space to just chill would be more useful.

WhisperingAutistic · 30/05/2023 23:02

Youvebeenmuffled · 30/05/2023 22:51

I feel the stress of my child being left with strangers would very quickly wipe away any benefit of a 30 minute break!

My ds has medical issues too so I don't think it would be something we could do even if we wanted to. He has a medical care plan at school and his teachers are all trained to deal with his seizures etc. There would never be a time where I could just drop him with someone for an hour without the person having a session on what to do if he gets ill.

Lindy2 · 30/05/2023 23:13

I think an approach where there are animals and craft activities available would be good. However, I think the parent would need to be able to choose to either do these with their child/children or to let them be with a staff member while the parent was able to watch but also be able to sit back and have a coffee.

Meditation would be no good because of the risk of the child not settling and the session being interrupted. (Or the stress of this potentially happening).

Just being able to sit for a while and watch someone else entertain my child, in an understanding and tolerant environment would however be very welcome.

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