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Lessons of a Home Visitor

IMG_1150I wanted to write a more personal post today. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a home visitor and I have to tell you, it is an interesting job. I go into about 40 different homes a month and work with children and their parents. I’ve always loved children, but being a home visitor has been so eye opening to me, especially seeing parents. It really is a privilege to work as a professional in such a private setting. I’m mostly in the home when the family is still in pajamas, finishing lunch, or recovering from a major temper tantrum when sister ate the last cookie. It’s almost like for that one hour I’m able to peer into this family’s life. As a professional in their home I’m there to help them learn ways to improve their child’s development and help coach them through the difficult parts of their day. But over the years these families have taught me so much more, and it makes me so excited to be a parent to my own children. I wanted to share three major things that I’ve learned from being in these homes.

 

  1. The Mess of Childhood

 

Every home I go into, no matter the culture, the size, the income level everyone always says ‘sorry my house is so messy…’ I can’t help but laugh because I’m guessing they feel like we expect a clean home. I know that I like it when my home is clean, and I usually only clean it when someone is coming over, even though my typical home life has dishes in the sink, and clothes piled in the closet… But as a development specialist I love messy homes, especially messy with toys. It means that the children in the home are free to explore or be curious, that they have time to play and not be worried about cleaning up every toy. Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t teach your little ones the importance of cleaning… but I’m happy to see families making a mess with their children. So keep it up!

 

  1. Parenting is Hard

 

Even though I have a degree, and I have access to a plethora of specialists, sometimes we just don’t have an answer to why your little one won’t eat, or won’t talk, or is climbing and jumping off the counter.   I get to leave that situation but you, as the parent, have to figure out how to help your little one be safe and survive. I mentioned this in my last post, but your day is getting through routines and it really can be hard if one of those is off. I am so impressed at how parents acclimate to their own child and to help them through their day. I’m impressed how much a parent will do for their child. No matter how hard parenting is, parents will do whatever it takes to help their little one be successful. It gives me hope that I can make it when it’s my turn.

 

  1. Parenting Styles are as Different as Parents out there

 

Of all the families I work with, and even ones I know personally (siblings and friends), how they parent is so different. How their families system runs is so different. But they all work. No parent or family is perfect, but they all make it work. It’s amazing to see how families discipline different, how they play different, how they balance mom and dad time. I feel like there is no fix-all to parenting, (there are definitely best practices that help), but each parent is different and each child is different so why would there be a general parenting style? It would never work. I love seeing how families adapt to their own needs and wants.
I love home visiting, and I feel so blessed to work with families in their home. I also feel blessed to be a collaborator on this blog, and share in our experiences together. Please share with me some parenting truths that you’ve learned along the way.

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