Many of you will know this, but in the UK we have Health Visitor reviews. These are checks for your baby which are done by local nursery nurses and health visitors. Designed to check how your child is developing and if you as a parent have any concerns. This week Spike had her latest, and I believe last, health visitor review. And I thought I’d share a bit about it.
These visits can be quite daunting to a new parent. I can remember, when I was told about her two week check, worrying a lot. Thinking it would be judgement for how I was coping as a parent, or a test to check my house was safe. I worried and worried but in reality there was nothing to worry about. Again, when it came to her 1 year check, I thought I was in for more judgement. I had returned to work and I thought it was a nosey to check up on me.
This time I decided not to worry. Spike is on the short side, but I know that. She hasn’t long started to speak, but she talks for England now. And her weight doesn’t bother me either. But I thought it would be good to share with my dear readers what goes on so you don’t worry when the time comes!
What to expect
You will be given a 24 month, and possibly a 27 month questionnaire to fill in. These give the health visitor an idea about what stage your child is at and if there are any areas for concern. Some of the things that are on the questionnaire will be tested by the Health Visitor during the review. Our Health Visitor had a wooden puzzle, some blocks and two bobbins with string to thread through them. She asked Spike to do the puzzle, once she had, asked her to build a tower with the blocks. Then line them up one after the other. She then asked Spike to thread the string through the bobbins.
Once that had all been done she got Spike to drawn a line down a sheet of paper, then across it, then finally draw a circle on it. The next task was to point at specific things in a book, or tell the Health Visitor what these things were. She then weighed Spike, and measured her height.
During all of this she asked me questions to determine if I was coping ok. She asked about mood swings as they are obviously very common in two year olds and if I knew how to handle them. If we were doing ok financially and knew what help there was on offer for parents. Whether Spike went to nursery and how she was there. If we had a good support network. And last but definitely not least, how I was coping with being a parent mentally, and where to turn for help if needed.
Mine also spoke to me about potty training and gave tips on how to go about that when the time is right.
Our Health Visitor Review
My main concern this time round was how long it would take for Spike to speak to the Health Visitor. Spike holds herself back quite a lot when she is placed in a new situation. I knew having this complete stranger drop by our household put her off talking and even playing and as I expected she stayed very close to me for a good 15 minutes or so.
The Health Visitor was obviously very used to this though and managed to talk Spike round quite quickly. She spoke to her and made a joke out of things and was generally really lovely. Spike soon came round and within the 50 minutes or so that the Health Visitor was with us she made a good friend of her!
Myths about Health Visitors
People believe that the Health Visitor reviews exist purely to judge you about parenting decisions and check up on you. They are often viewed as pointless and to be honest, maybe mine was. Spike is flying through the standard stages and is more than capable of 95% of the things on the questionnaire. But not all kids are. Not all parents are coping, be it financially or mentally. Some parents don’t have a good support network, even from those closest to them. Or might need help working out what is happening with their child’s eating/weight/social anxiety and how they can help.
There are a million things that could be concerning you as a parent. These visits don’t exist to make you feel worse about those things. The Health Visitors are there to help give you peace of mind!
That said, I know friends who have been judged and have hated the Health Visitors they’ve had. So maybe I’ve just been lucky!