Good Contact Time - a Guide to useful resources
If you are a parent living apart from one or more of your children your contact with them is probably only for short periods of time. Obviously you want this time to be happy and rewarding for you all. You must be prepared to work at this – it doesn’t just happen!
Four important matters are set out in the headings below with useful websites, books and organisations. Please pay a lot of attention to these matters so you make really good use of your contact time, your relationship with your children grows strongly, and they benefit from their time with you as much as possible.
Health, Safety, Nutrition and Comfort of your children
Check with the children’s other parent what food, drinks, sweets and medicines the children are used to and allowed.
NHS Sure Start Childrens Centres (services and information 0 – 5 years) – postcode search on www.gov.uk/find-sure-start-childrens-centre
NHS services – www.nhs.uk (tab Services Near You, tab A-Z to look for particular problems, and use search box for "Child Health"); 24 hour helpline 111 (free) or 0845 4647; for emergencies only 999
Local Authority sites “Family Information Services” (FIS)
Books for example Childrens Health for Dummies by Dr Katy Holland.
Where to take your children to have fun and do interesting things
The following websites have directories with national postcode searches for childrens centres and play centres: www.dad.info ; mumsnet.com (tab Life and Style) ; www.netmums.com (tab Local); www.actionforchildren.org.uk .
On Local Authority sites search “Family Information Services” (FIS) for childrens centres, school holiday activities, places to go and activities at local libraries (these can be good places to go when the weather is poor - many now have separate childrens areas).
Go swimming (in some areas it’s free for children with a library card or similar).
For situations where a child or either parent needs extra support or assurance during contact time - at the National Association of Child Contact Centres the parent who lives with the children brings them and takes them home, but the other parent spends time with the children on their own. Informal (supported) contact is the norm but more formal (supervised) contact can often be arranged. Postcode search on website www.naccc.org.uk
Enjoy helping your children grow in confidence with their reading, maths and other school subjects - school is a big part of their lives
Talk to your children’s school and class teacher.
Play mind challenging games with them such as Pairs (Snap), Pelmanism (Memory Match), Draughts, Hangman, Snakes & Ladders, Monopoly etc.
Free and low cost resources from these websites: www.theSchoolRun.com (free worksheets); www.oxfordowl.co.uk (free e-books and downloadable games); www.topmarks.co.uk (for many subject areas); www.bbc.co.uk/learning .
Search Google for "primary homework help" and use school weblinks.
Books such as - Help With Homework series (W H Smiths) for example by Terry Burton and John Jackson (OUP); Homework Help for Mums and Dads by Karen Dolby (Michael O’Mara Books); see also www.mombooks.com
Libraries – look at books where the numbering starts “371” or ask staff for help.
Don’t forget how your children are feeling – this is very important
This is an especially difficult time for them so always respect their feelings and emotions. They might not be ready to have fun as much as in the past - this is understandable.
To help you with this - on Local Authority websites search "Family Information Services" for free or low-cost parenting courses. These are also provided by some charities - enter "Parenting Courses UK" in your search engine.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The websites, organisations, books, publications etc. mentioned in this Guide have been carefully chosen but any advice they give stands independently and the author of this Guide and any organisation recommending or issuing this Guide can take no responsibility for this advice.